Westbury officials: Absentee landlords not welcome

Westbury officials are cracking down on absentee landlords who place tenants in unsafe and overcrowded rentals.

Westbury officials are cracking down on absentee landlords who place tenants in unsafe and overcrowded rentals. (8/18/16)

WESTBURY - Westbury officials are cracking down on absentee landlords who place tenants in unsafe and overcrowded rentals.

On Thursday, the village's Building Department executed search warrants at two homes in New Cassel.

It is not disclosing the exact locations because of the ongoing court process, but the mayor says multiple violations were found and the property owners will have to face a judge.

"It's supposed to be a one-family house or two-family house, and the property owner will have five families living in it, in the basement, the attic and in different bedrooms," says Mayor Peter Cavallaro. "If you have a fire in one of these homes where there are too many people, a lot of times there are children involved, it's very difficult to get everyone out safely."

Cavallaro says if the landlords are found guilty of owning illegal rentals, they will face fines. He says repeat offenders will be slapped with even stiffer fines.

"The maximum fines on second and third could be up to $10,000 per violation. A lot of times you have a dozen violations that might be written," he says.

Cavallaro says the crackdown is ongoing with more search warrants executed in the coming months. Tenants are not evicted when search warrants are executed, Cavallaro says, but they usually find alternative housing. He adds that while he agrees the lack of affordable housing on Long Island must be addressed, code enforcement cannot be ignored.

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