Written by Jill Nossa Thursday, 05 June 2014 00:00
Illegal housing is a big problem in Glen Cove and the city is taking action. In the early morning on May 21, the Glen Cove Police Department and the city’s Code Enforcement Department executed a search warrant and found a total of 15 people living in the one-family house at 40 Landing Rd., which also has a five-room doctor’s suite. According to the city,the absentee landlord, who lives overseas, apparently allowed for illegal cellar habitation, nine rooms to be converted to living areas, for plumbing to be installed without permits, and construction in the house without permits. In addition, 12 smoke detectors and three carbon monoxide detectors were missing. A total of eight vehicles were associated with the people living in the house.
Mayor Reginald Spinello said, “This is once again proof positive that this administration’s steadfast commitment to crack down on illegal housing continues. This latest investigation and finding sends a message to any others participating in the illegal housing business. My administration will not tolerate illegal housing. Illegal housing puts lives at risk, disparages a neighborhood and impacts our city’s infrastructure. The Landing Road case is also proof positive that our code enforcement department is acting upon residents’ complaints.”
Upon entering the house the following was discovered, authorities say: A dining room was converted into a bedroom and subdivided with dressers and other furniture; a utility room was converted into a bedroom and the main tenants, a married couple, were living in a bedroom that was converted from two treatment rooms and the waiting area formerly part of a doctor’s office. There were two adults using a study as a bedroom. The room also contained a hot plate and food. Two bedrooms on the first floor of the house were occupied by one person, and the third bedroom was occupied by a two people. The master bedroom was being used by one person while the basement had five people living and sleeping in a total of three illegal rooms which constitutes illegal basement habitation.
Deputy City Attorney Kristina Heuser says they charged the two primary tenants as well as the four owners of the property, who are currently out of the country; the tenants have been served and court proceedings will occur. She says the code enforcement department is monitoring the premises, and all of the people who are not related to the tenants have moved out.
“We really rely on residents reporting cases of illegal housing and not being afraid to give their names,” says Heuser, stressing that while anonymous complaints are helpful, they are not credible for issuing a search warrant and allowing the city to take action.
“We all want to work aggressively to rid the city of its illegal housing problem and the help of residents is vital,” she says.
Tom and Helene Suozzi lived in the house for about 13 years, from 1992 to late 2004.
“It’s heartbreaking to us to drive by and see the state of the property,” says Suozzi of the home he purchased when the couple first married. “When we bought the house, the landscaping was immaculate...that was one of the reasons we bought it.”
He says he even stopped by several years ago and offered to help with the landscaping but the owners had no interest.
“I’m happy the city is cracking down," says Suozzi. “Illegal housing is a major problem, not only because it’s a burden on resources, but it makes the neighborhood look bad.”