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Stony Brook Residents Want Rental Rules Enforced For College Students

Homeowner: 'It's Like Crabgrass. It's Been Spreading And We Want It To Stop'
Lawn sign in Stony Brook (credit: CBS 2)

Lawn sign in Stony Brook (credit: CBS 2)

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STONY BROOK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Some homeowners in Stony Brook on Long Island are complaining that college students don’t make good neighbors.

As Stony Brook University’s student body grows, more students have been seeking housing off campus.

“We’ve got bedrooms in here that are anywhere from seven to eight, with eight to ten kids in this house,” Stony Brook homeowner Richard Pandolfi told CBS 2′s Jennifer McLogan. “Throughout our community here, it’s like crabgrass. It’s been spreading and we want it to stop.”

Local residents said dozens of neighborhood homes that once belonged to single families have been scooped up by absentee landlords out to make a buck.

Residents have complained that the students are noisy, litter and create parking problems.

“They park on the street and then people try to back out of their driveway and they can’t see,” a homeowner told WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs.

Some homeowners have asked for tougher enforcement of rental guidelines.

“I think there should be rules on the renting of apartments to students, how many cars do you permit and how many students,” a man told Xirinachs.

The landlords, catering to a student population, have been paving over lawns and painting parking lines on residential driveways. And that’s in addition to the litter and loud parties, CBS 2′s McLogan reported.

“A number of landlords have unscrupulously divided their house up into a number of different rooms in order to maximize their profits,” said Herb Mones of the Civic Association of the Setaukets and Stony Brook.

The Civic Association took its complaints to Town Hall demanding tighter restrictions. The town supervisor has pledged a crackdown on those who violate town code, with more than four to a house.

‘We have 50 open investigations,” Brookhaven Town Supervisor Edward Romaine told CBS 2′s McLogan.

Some upset homeowners said the influx of student renters has dragged down property values and quality of life.

But Stony Brook students told McLogan that they are good citizens. They said they are renting homes because of the high demand for on-campus rooms and to save money.

The university said it is increasing dorm space next year. Until then, however, the town has warned students to ensure their off-campus rentals are legal. They could face eviction if their absentee landlord is found to be in violation of town code.

The town of Brookhaven wants to increase fines and penalties by 150 percent against unscrupulous landlords and will hold a public hearing on stiffening town code, McLogan reported.

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