Illegal Housing: N.Y. County Plans Crackdown on Landlords

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Alarmed by the conditions in illegal rental housing that are putting tenants, as well as firefighters, at risk, a county in upstate New York has turned a task force on the problem.

In Rockland County, municipal lawmakers, firefighters and health department employees have joined together in an effort to impose strict fines and possible imprisonment on landlords who violate fire codes and other housing standards.

The problem: When a family home is converted into several illegal apartments, the haphazard construction that usually goes into them can create a cramped and perilously unpredictable layout that can leave occupants and first responders wandering or trapped in an emergency.

"I don't know any other county that's doing something similar," says Gordon Wren Jr., director of Rockland County's Fire and Emergency Services. "Rockland Fire Services have said, 'Enough is enough.' "

Read the full story on Nyack-Piermont Patch.

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