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Jun 23, 2010 10:28 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Sag Harbor group house busted

Jun 23, 2010 10:28 AM

Two homeowners were cited by Southampton Town code enforcement officials this week for violations stemming from the operation of illegal group rentals.

A New York City man was issued eight safety and health violations last week after Southampton Town code enforcement officers found that a house he owns near Sag Harbor was being occupied by as many as 17 young renters on a recent weekend. And the owner of a Shinnecock Hills home was charged with operating a short-term rental to an illegal number of people. The homeowner also did not have a town rental permit.

Southampton Town Investigations and Enforcement Unit officers executed a search warrant on Sunday morning at a house on Longview Road in Shinnecock Hills owned by Suzanne Tecza. They found the house, which does not have a rental permit, was occupied by 21 people who told the investigators that they had rented it for the weekend.

In addition to the rental violations the house did not have an adequate number of smoke detectors, as required by law, officials said. Some common areas of the house had been converted into bedroom space and extra beds had been added to bedrooms creating dangerous overcrowding. Those changes, and other changes to the house, were made in violation of the property’s certificate of occupancy and without required building permits, officials reported.

On June 11, Southampton Town Police responded to a complaint of loud noise coming from a house owned by James Melis, at 1206 Middle Line Highway on the outskirts of Sag Harbor Village known as Mount Misery, after 4 a.m.. A subsequent investigation by code officers, with a court-issued search warrant, found 17 occupants at the house, all under the age of 21, and numerous violations of fire and safety codes, according to town officials. Many of the house’s required smoke and carbon monoxide detectors were non-functioning, disconnected or had never been installed, they said.

Southampton Town Chief Investigator David Betts said that the house also had electrical code violations and that gates around the pool were broken, a safety code violation.

He said the house is advertised on the internet for rent nightly and weekly. Short-term rentals are a violation of the town’s rental law.

Investigations into both homeowners are continuing and will be referred to the Southampton Town Justice Court.

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Once again the question is did code enforcement force them to leave or do they just stay and the owners pay the fines as part of the cost of business? Why doesn't the reporter ask this seemingly basic and obvious question when reporting on these stories?
By bird (829), Southampton on Jun 30, 10 1:03 PM