Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Be careful leasing your sharehouse

Following a noise complaint from a neighbor your extra money from renting your summer home can turn from dream come true to nightmare. An interesting article about a recent crack-down in Sag Harbor can be read by clicking here.

Just to explain the nightmare that you will face, its important to read the penalty provisions for violations. The penalty provisions for violations of the rental permit rule can be found at section 270-19 of the Southampton Town Code. The key provision is "each day's continued violation shall constitute a separate additional violation".

Section 270-19
A. A violation of this chapter by the owner(s) and/or tenant(s) is hereby declared to be an offense punishable by a fine not less than $1,500 nor more than $8,000 or imprisonment for a period not to exceed six months, or both, for a conviction of a first offense; for conviction of a second or subsequent offense within 18 months, a fine not less than $3,000 nor more than $15,000 or imprisonment not to exceed a period of six months, or both. However, for the purpose of conferring jurisdiction upon courts and judicial officers in general, violations of this chapter shall be deemed misdemeanors, and, for such purpose only, all provisions of law relating to misdemeanors shall apply. Each day's continued violation shall constitute a separate additional violation.

B. Additionally, in lieu of imposing the fine authorized in § 270-19A, in accordance with Penal Law § 80.05(5), the court may sentence the defendant(s) to pay an amount, fixed by the court, not exceeding double the amount of the rent collected over the term of the occupancy

C. The court may dismiss the violation or reduce the minimum fine imposed where it finds that the defendant had cooperated with the Town of Southampton in the investigation and prosecution of a violation of this chapter. Factors which the court may consider include, but are not limited to, a report from the office of the Town Attorney confirming that the defendant did in fact cooperate and whether:

(1) The defendant reported the violation(s) to the Town of Southampton;

(2) The defendant assisted the Town of Southampton in investigating and prosecuting the violation(s);

(3) The defendant provided access to the rental property;

(4) The defendant promptly pursued his/her/its own rights under the lease to remedy the violation or adequately pursued an eviction proceeding;

(5) All violations existing at the rental property have been promptly remediated.

D. Where authorized by a duly adopted resolution of the Town Board, the Town Attorney may bring and maintain a civil proceeding, in the name of the Town, in the Supreme Court, to permanently enjoin the person or persons conducting, maintaining or permitting said violation. The owner and tenants of the residence wherein the violation is conducted, maintained or permitted may be made defendants in the action.

(1) If a finding is made by a court of competent jurisdiction that the defendants or any of them has caused, permitted, or allowed a violation of this chapter, a penalty to be jointly and severally included in the judgment may be awarded at the discretion of the court in an amount not to exceed $1,000 for each day it is found that the defendants or any one of them individually caused, permitted or allowed the violation. Upon recovery, such penalty shall be paid into the Town Attorney's Enforcement Fund.