By Jano Tantongco
The Huntington Town Board is considering changes to its rental registry law, a 2014 mandate that requires the yearly inspection, and registration, of rental homes that are not owner-occupied.
The proposed changes to the law would require inspections be done every other year instead of every year, and would establish a permit denial and revocation process. It would also make it illegal for homeowners or managing agents to submit false or misleading statements when filing for a permit, and the same would also apply to architects and engineers regarding their certification and documentation filings.
In its current state, the yearly rental permits come with a $475 fee. If the proposed changes are approved the permit length would be extended to two years, but the fee would remain $475.
A public hearing on the proposed changes was held on Tuesday during the town board’s monthly meeting. It drew five speakers, many of whom said they are not satisfied with the proposed changes.
Donna Paltrowitz, who identified herself as a local landlord, called the process of an annual inspection and registration “extremely cumbersome.” She asked that the length of permits be extended to five years instead of two.
Other speakers took issue with the legislation as a whole, such as Jon Finke, a Northport part-time landlord, who said he owns a pair of two-family homes and that the permit fee may “force” him to raise rents.
Huntington Councilwoman Tracey Edwards, who wrote the original rental registry law, as well as the amendment, has said the law was designed to safeguard tenants.
After Tuesday’s meeting, Edwards said the proposed changes are in line with the board’s commitment to modifying the resolution to accommodate residents’ input.
She also noted that some residents were not aware of the proposed changes prior to Tuesday’s meeting, and said, “I think that what we have to do better is provide better communication because we are responding to their concerns. We just have to keep communicating and talking to people.”