Illegal housing affects our quality of life, our property values and overburdens our schools. Why is the burden of illegal housing being placed on the resident homeowners of Hicksville and not on the property owner who is illegally renting his home to two or three families and paying taxes for only one?
On Feb. 10, John Paider from the Town of Oyster Bay's newly formed Illegal Housing Department attended our meeting to discuss illegal housing in Hicksville. Mr. Paider handed out new forms developed to deal specifically with illegal housing and we discussed the information he needed to know before pursuing a complaint. The membership feedback has been moderate but is expected to increase as we enter the warmer months of the year. Mr. Paider has been working with our association to help us fight this growing concern and will again address our membership in February 2006.
According to an April 21 Newsday article written by Cynthia Daniels, the Town of Huntington is also taking a much more aggressive stance in its fight against illegal housing. By passing legislation such as; making it illegal to collect rents from illegal apartment dwellers and confiscate illegally collected rents, require those who file for a building permit to submit a sworn affidavit pledging the property will not violate town zoning or filed plans, making it a violation to advertise rental property without a permit number; and clarify the definition of family to prevent transient housing, the town is making it harder for unscrupulous homeowner landlords to circumvent town code.
In the article, Huntington Town spokesman Don McKay is quoted as saying, "The codes will not violate any rights, but instead stop landlords and lawyers who were using the loopholes to file lawsuits and get around the town codes. Residents or homeowners obviously have rights to their property. However, they do not have rights to flagrantly and willfully violate our town code and destroy other people's quality of life."
The Town of Huntington has created a Housing Enforcement Action Team which is composed of code enforcement inspectors who work with the town attorney's office and county police to investigate unsafe housing. Mr. John Paider and the Town of Oyster Bay has a similar program in place and is working with us and other local civic associations to take back our community and to afford us the quality of life we are paying for. This problem and others however cannot be solved by the Town alone. They need our help, community problems need community attention and community support.
What's your opinion? We'd like to know. Our next meeting is scheduled for May 12 in the Hicksville Public Library Kenneth Barnes Community Room at 7:30 p.m.
Henry A. Goessmann
President, Hicksville Gardens Civic Association