The Town of Brookhaven set aside one day a week, Thursday, for a Community Housing Court with the goal of expediting housing violations cases.
The court will deal with violations issued by town inspectors, such as overcrowded housing and noise and nuisance violations. The town held the first community court on Sept. 4 at the Suffolk County Sixth District Court in Patchogue, according to a town press release.
The court comes as a response to Brookhaven’s crackdown on housing violations near Stony Brook University in off-campus homes rented to students illegally after residents pushed for action to be taken against landlords who do not comply to town codes.
Bruce Sander, co-founder of Stony Brook Concerned Homeowners, Ltd., said that it was a “nightmare” with no designated day for housing cases and that it took months to get to court and three weeks of waiting all day in court for one case to be heard.
“If a violation happens this month, we want to see the landlord in court that month,” Sander said. The community court, he said, means to residents that cases will be settled faster.
While “not every landlord” in the area is in violation of town codes, some “insist on cutting up houses,” Sander said, citing 150 Christian Ave. in Stony Brook, which he described as being “chopped up” into illegal bedrooms for 16 students.
According to Sander, about 100 out of 238 student houses are illegal in the Stony Brook area for violations such having no rental registration, meaning the house has not been inspected for safety, leaving potential dangers undiscovered.
Sander said that a female student contacted him with concerns about the lease she signed being violated five times. Students can be taken advantage of by a “savvy landlord,” he said.