The house at 13 Beech Hollow Court in Montauk has a certificate of occupancy that legally permits only three bedrooms. But when a team of East Hampton Town code enforcement officers, police officers, fire marshals and building inspectors raided the dwelling to execute a search warrant at 6 a.m. on Saturday, September 3, they found 18 people occupying the premises.
Town officials say they had discovered — and busted — an “illegal and dangerously overcrowded share house” in which one of the tenants had been “renting out rooms, parts of rooms, an illegally converted basement and even the pool house” to the other 17 occupants for as much as $1,800 per room for a single weekend, according to a release issued by the town.
Officers who conducted the search, which followed a months-long investigation, tallied nine bedrooms, six of which they said had been illegally and unsafely added in the conversions. Basement bedrooms, for instance, didn’t have required fire egress windows and lacked smoke detectors, and a pool house, which was home to two people, had multiple building-code violations, they said.
All 18 residents were charged with town code violations, including a tenant Alina Gersham, who allegedly had rented out the rooms. In addition, the property’s owner, Thomas Mahal, of 16 Gates Avenue in Montauk, was given an appearance ticket, and all 19 defendants are due in East Hampton Justice Court on September 26.
“Our town will not tolerate violations of our Town Code — especially those sections designed to protect the health, safety, and welfare of our single-family neighborhoods and community at large,” said East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell.
Among dozens of alleged violations: Selling of shares, no smoke detectors, building without a permit, no certificate of occupancy, improper egress for basement bedrooms, no building permit, conversion a house from single to multi-family use and building-code and rental-registry violations.