[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Farmingdale as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Property maintenance — See Ch. 419.
Article I Illegal Occupancies
[Adopted 7-11-2006 by L.L. No. 3-2006 (Ch. 55 of the 1975 Code)]
The Board of Trustees has found that there are instances in the Village of owners of residential properties exploiting their buildings by creating illegal occupancies which expose the residents therein to living in substandard rooms or apartments. Such practices are in derogation of the health, safety and welfare of members of the public who are entitled to such suitable and safe housing. Such illegal occupancies in residential properties also have a detrimental effect on Village services to the community. Accordingly, enforcement of applicable chapter provisions is a legitimate governmental obligation which requires appropriate consideration.
[Amended 2-6-2017 by L.L. No. 3-2017]
In all civil and criminal prosecutions brought for the enforcement of chapter provisions in respect to nonpermitted occupancy of residential dwellings, the following rebuttable presumptions shall apply:
That any dwelling which maintains more than one gas meter or more than one electric meter or more than one water meter is being used as the residence of two or more families.
That any dwelling which maintains more than two gas meters or more than two electric meters or more than two water meters is being used as the residence of three or more families.
That a one-family dwelling which maintains any entrance(s) thereto, which entrance(s) has not been set forth on any plans approved by and on file with the Department of Buildings, is being used as the residence of two or more families.
That a two-family dwelling which maintains any third or additional entrance thereto, which entrance(s) has not been set forth on any plans approved by and on file with the Department of Buildings, is being used as the residence of three or more families.
That a dwelling which has been advertised in any newspapers, magazine or local advertising publication as being available for sale or rent, which advertisement expressly or implicitly provides that such dwelling contains rooms for rent, more than one separate dwelling living unit, or may be occupied by more than one separate family, is being used as a dwelling containing the number of rooms for rent, dwelling units or families stated or implied in such advertisement.
That if there exists two or more doorbells or mailboxes, such would indicate two or more families are residing in the dwelling.
That if there are two or more motor vehicles parked on the dwelling lot registered to persons with two or more different surnames, such would indicate two or more families residing in the dwelling.
The presumption of nonpermitted occupancy of a single dwelling unit shall also be established where probative evidence establishes:
That there exists permanent partitions or internal doors which may serve to bar access between segregated portions of the dwelling, including but not limited to bedrooms, or the inability of any occupant or person in possession thereof to have unimpeded and/or lawful access to all parts of the dwelling unit.
That there exists two or more kitchens each containing one or more of the following: a range, oven, hot plate, microwave, or other similar device customarily used for cooking or preparation of foods.
There exists more than the permitted number of bathrooms. For purposes of the illegal occupancy presumption:
No more than two bathrooms shall be permitted in any single-family dwelling; except that for single-family dwellings in excess of two bedrooms, an additional 1/2 bath for each additional bedroom in excess of two bedrooms shall be permitted.
No more than three bathrooms shall be permitted in any two-family dwelling; except that for two-family dwellings in excess of three bedrooms an additional 1/2 bath for each additional bedroom in excess of three bedrooms shall be permitted.
The presumption raised by proof of the existence of any such conditions as set forth in Subsection A herein may only be rebutted by conclusive evidence that such conditions do not, in fact, exist or that such conditions, in fact, comply with this chapter.
A person charged with a violation of this chapter as described herein may demand an inspection by the Department of Buildings of the subject premises to rebut such presumption. Such demand shall be in writing addressed to the Department of Buildings. The Superintendent of Buildings shall prepare a report of the finding of the inspection together with photographs, if appropriate.
The rebuttable presumption standard set forth herein is met by the submission of any application, proposal and/or plan which satisfies the presumptions in § 437-2A and the building department shall not grant any building permit(s) for any such applications, proposals and/or plans.
Nothing contained in this section shall preclude a finding of an illegal occupancy based upon direct evidence or other evidence.
A violation of a chapter provision involving any nonpermitted occupancies of dwellings is a violation, as that term is defined in the New York State Penal Law.
[Amended 10-1-2007 by L.L. No. 10-2007]
Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter inconsistent herewith, for each chapter violation involving any nonpermitted occupancy of dwellings, the owner and any person who is in charge of the subject property at the time of the violation shall be liable for a fine not to exceed $5,000 for the first violation; and fine shall not exceed $10,000 for a second and any subsequent violation.
[Amended 10-1-2007 by L.L. No. 10-2007; 5-4-2009 by L.L. No. 2-2009]
Each week that the violation continues to exist shall constitute a separate and distinct violation.
The Superintendent of the Department of Buildings and or his or her assistants shall be responsible for investigating and documenting violations of any case of illegal occupancy within the Village.
Prosecutions for violations hereunder may be instituted in the Village Justice Court or in the District Court of the County of Nassau.
The Village Attorney may, upon direction of the Board of Trustees, institute an action in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Nassau, for appropriate relief where it appears under the circumstances that the imposition of a fine alone would not be adequate.