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Vacant Houses In Brookhaven Must Register Under New Law

Fee of $250 required of property owners of abandoned homes.

Brookhaven Town Hall.
Brookhaven Town Hall.
A “Vacant House Registry” has been unanimously adopted by Brookhaven town board Tuesday, which the town says will combat abandoned houses and buildings in neighborhoods.

The law requires owners of vacant properties to register with the town by paying a $250 fee, and providing contact information for whomever is responsible for maintaining it. The town says similar laws exist in major cities such as Boston, Chicago and Minneapolis, as well as Babylon town on Long Island.

“These dangerous eyesores threaten the quality of life of the people who live nearby and seriously affect the property values of the other homes in the neighborhood,” Romaine said in a release. “All of them are owned by someone - a bank, a corporation or some other entity.”

Failure or refusal of a property owner to register within 30 days after they become due results in a fine of $1,000 to $15,000 for each.

Residents are able to report possible housing and property violations using a mobile app the town released in September as well as by calling 631-451-TOWN during business hours of 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. This registry was first announced by Town Supervisor Ed Romaine as part of a September press conference in front of a boarded up house in Coram.

What are your thoughts on this registry? And what vacant properties do you think should be on it? Talk about it in the comments below this post.
JQPublic December 07, 2013 at 05:48 PM
Excellent law. BTW, how many minutes must a house have nobody in it before it is "vacant"? If I take an 8-day cruise, is my house vacant? If a professor takes her family away for a semester of study, is the house vacant? If a member of the Reserve gets deployed to Fort Drum for a year and takes his spouse, is the house vacant? And when a ticket gets written for violating this law, who will testify for the Town that nobody has used the premises for the required length of time?
LivingSmall December 08, 2013 at 09:36 AM
There was a vacant house on our street for decades which was a magnet for kids. Mysteriously, it caught fire as housing prices ballooned. A Mcmansion was built in its place. The town did nothing; the lot was overgrown, the house broken into and unsecured. If this program had been in place 10, 20, or in the late 60's (when the house was vacated) would the Town have done anything differently? Is this registry another tax? Will the proceeds be used to acquire derelict houses in blighted communities? What will the fee be used for?
Sycamore Senior December 08, 2013 at 01:29 PM
@JQPublic: The starting date could be when LIPA service is turned off. Otherwise, there would have to be an inventory of conditions to make the determination.
Sycamore Senior December 08, 2013 at 01:32 PM
@Living Small: The money would probably be used to cover court costs of notifications and proceedings. That's why there is a wide range of penalty dollars.
bdenz December 08, 2013 at 04:14 PM
I like the snitch app. Inform!
LivingSmall December 09, 2013 at 09:31 AM
@Sycamore Senior -- Operative word 'probably'. ;)

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