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Illegal housing crackdown in Stony Brook shows progress

Stony Brook community leaders and Brookhaven officials say they have seen progress in their fight against illegal rooming houses.

At a meeting of the Stony Brook Concerned Homeowners civic group on Wednesday, officials said a town crackdown and public pressure appeared to have led some landlords to sell their houses or stop renting to college students. Several residents said houses formerly occupied by students had been sold to families.

Residents living near Stony Brook University had complained that some houses had been rented by a dozen or more students. Town law limits rentals to a maximum of four unrelated tenants

“We’ve already put the brakes on a lot of it. Not all of it, but a lot of it,” said Bruce Sander, a founder and leader of the civic group, which has more than 900 members. About 400 people attended the meeting at W.S. Mount Elementary School in Stony Brook.

Michael E. Arens, the university’s associate vice president for government and community relations, said community opposition to illegal housing had caused landlords to sell their houses. “You have their attention,” Arens said.

He said the school plans to add 1,100 dormitory beds, enough to fill demand for on-campus housing. He added that many students who prefer to live off campus are encouraged to seek legal rentals.

Supervisor Edward P. Romaine told residents more than 160 properties were under investigation for suspected code violations. He said the town had taken enforcement actions against 87 properties, and 35 landlords had come into compliance with town code.