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Southold Town’s rental permit law formally approved

The Southold Town Board voted unanimously Tuesday to pass its rental permit law.

The law requires owners of rental properties to obtain a permit, adhere to property maintenance guidelines and allow inspections of property. Having a valid certificate of occupancy is a requirement for a rental permit.

Violators of the law would face fines. Councilwoman Jill Doherty said she has been working on this law for a year and half and talking about it for three years. The law has brought crowds of concerned property owners to public hearings as it’s taken shape.

“This has been a struggle for all of us for years and I don’t like any time that we have to make more codes and more law, but we feel like it has come to this,” Ms. Doherty said during the meeting.

Supervisor Scott Russell said that he had reservations at first, and that the original legislation may have been a bit overreaching.

“It’s been stripped down to its most basic, very straight forward provisions,” he said.

He added that the most recent draft took away the requirement for a town official to inspect the properties and instead will allow residents to hire private firms.

“It addresses long standing health and welfare issues with regard to giving fire marshals access or ensuring the properties are safe,” Mr. Russell said.

Those who have spoken in opposition to the law were concerned that the law would make renting their homes unnecessarily difficult and more costly.

East Marion resident Anne Murray spoke in support of the law Tuesday, as she has at several other public hearings.

“It’s been a long time coming,” she said. “I urge the town to do this because we need safe housing for everyone.”

It will go into effect immediately, however, to give residents enough time to apply and obtain a permit, no violations will be given until Aug. 1, 2019.

Photo caption: The Southold Town Board at Tuesday’s meeting. (Credit: Rachel Siford)

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