Brookhaven targets landlords to combat Stony Brook party houses

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School is back in session, and that's a concern for many in the Stony Brook community with worries about off-campus housing for the university.

In August 2016, an elevated wooden deck collapsed 10 feet as hundreds of college students partied. Two were sent to the hospital. Authorities say the East Setauket home had been illegally converted into a half-dozen apartments.

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine says the town is stepping up efforts to crack down on unscrupulous landlords who have illegally converted single-family homes into so-called "party" houses. The town says the homes are often overcrowded and fail to meet building and fire codes, putting students' lives in danger.

Deputy Town Attorney David Moran says they're going after the bad landlords.

“We issue summonses in our district court, we prosecute those summonses to the fullest extent of the law,” says Moran. “We substantially, with the help of the town board, set forth codes that dramatically increase fines and penalties.”

The town is also teaming up with Stony Brook University and civic groups to catch absentee landlords.

“We have a very tight connection with the enforcement community and Town of Brookhaven, so when students come to us with complaints we bring them there,” says Judy Greiman, of Stony Brook University.

Town officials say students can do their part by doing their research before signing a lease.

“Make sure if you're going to rent a house off campus and you're a student that it has a rental permit and it meets all the building and safety codes,” advises Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine.

Town officials say they've prosecuted 400 landlords in the Stony Brook and Setauket area in the past four years. But they say there are many more absentee landlords out there and the only way to get rid of them is to keep up the pressure.

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