Town Board Passes Local Law to Hold Contractors Jointly Liable for Failing to Obtain Proper Permits
Farmingville, NY – On Tuesday, March 29, 2011, Supervisor Lesko proposed a local law that would crack down on contractors who fail to obtain permits for home improvement construction work they perform in Brookhaven Town. At the April 11, 2011 Town Board meeting, the Town held a public hearing on the matter and adopted the local law.
“It is my hope that this new law will stop the practice of contractors victimizing homeowners and trying to skirt the law for their own personal benefit,” said Supervisor Lesko.
Supervisor Lesko continued, “I have heard horror stories from residents who were assured by their home contractor that Town approvals were obtained for a home improvement, such as a pool, only to find out after the work was completed no approvals were secured. This has resulted in homeowners spending thousands of dollars to bring the improvement into compliance. I am confident that this new law will incentivize contractors, in addition to the homeowner, to obtain proper permits and at the same time will protect well-intentioned homeowners.”
Previously, only homeowners were liable when they failed to obtain permits for constructing any improvements, not contractors. Many times, homeowners hire contractors to perform the improvements to their home and the contractor assures the homeowner that they will obtain the proper approvals.
For example, a swimming pool or a second addition to a house must comply with setback requirements or obtain relief from the Zoning Board of Appeals. If the contractor did not follow Town regulations, previously only the homeowner was liable. This new law also makes contractors liable to protect homeowners who rely on their contractors to do the work and obtain approvals.
The crackdown on home contractors who mislead homeowners is just another example of Supervisor Lesko’s efforts to improve the Quality of Life in the Town of Brookhaven.
Since Supervisor Lesko has taken office, he has aggressively increased code enforcement through the creation of the Quality of Life Task Force.
Supervisor Lesko established the Quality of Life Task Force in June of 2009 to aggressively enforce the Town code, eliminate blight in neighborhoods, shutdown suburban slumlords, and prosecute serial offenders. From June 2009 through December 2009, fines levied on code violations increased by 170% compared to the same time period in 2008.
In 2010, the Quality of Life Task Force continued its success. Compared to 2009, fines levied in 2010 nearly doubled to almost $1 million. Fines are levied through tickets issued to property owners with properties that have seriously unsafe or hazardous conditions.
Working in partnership with the Town Council and Superintendent of Highways John Rouse, Supervisor Lesko recently announced the kick-off of “Operation Clean Sweep”, a coordinated effort to give communities around Brookhaven a make-over. Over the course of the next six months, Town employees will sweep streets, fix streetlamps, pick up litter, install new street signs, clean catch basins, and conduct other activities to beautify neighborhoods in all six Council districts. The first “Operation Clean Sweep” is taking place this week (April 11, 2011) in a designated area of Selden.
If residents believe that a property is in violation of any Town of Brookhaven codes, they can call 451-TOWN to file a complaint.
Division of Public Information * Office of the Supervisor
One Independence Hill • Farmingville • NY 11738 • Phone (631) 451-6595 • Fax (631) 451-6258