The Town of Brookhaven has amended its housing code to be able to close a loophole that allowed some homeowners to get away with renting rooms in their homes to invididuals not part of their family, the town announced Tuesday.
According to town code, renting out rooms was already illegal – but a loophole concerning the lack of a clear definition of "family" allowed landlords to get around the rules.
The town said in a statement that councilman Steve Fiore-Rosenfeld partnered with the Civic Association, the town law department, and the Quality of Life Task Force to change the law, contained within Chapter 85-1 and Chapter 82-10 of the town code. The amendments are based on what other municipalities have enacted and what has been upheld by the State Appellate Division.
"This new law will allow our Quality of Life Task Force to more effectively do its job on behalf of our residential neighborhoods," Fiore-Rosenfeld said in a statement. "I fully expect this will close another loophole, often used by unscrupulous and absent landlords, which had negatively impacted our community and our citizens quiet and peaceful enjoyment of their own homes."
Previously, the definition of "Family" according to of the Town Code read as follows:
One or more persons related by blood, adoption or marriage, living and cooking together as a single housekeeping unit, or eight or less persons living and cooking together as a single housekeeping unit though not related by blood, adoption or marriage.
Now, the town said the amendments "tighten up the Town Code and place the burden on the property owner or landlord to prove that four or more unrelated people are living together as a family. The amendments will permit families, and all groups who are the functional equivalent of a family, to live in residentially zoned areas."
Residents who suspect a neighbor is violating the town housing code can log a complaint by calling 451-TOWN.