Mar 29 2014

Police to Begin Inspecting Homes For “Illegal Tenants”


The community of Westbury, NY has announced the creation of a new police task force to inspect people’s homes unannounced in search of “illegal tenants.” The town of 15,000 will hire two new police officers and recently held a town meeting about the new “zero tolerance policy” against renting rooms illegally. The task force – aptly named the Housing Enforcement Unit – is calling these tenants “unpermitted guests.” And by “illegal” they don’t mean immigrants – they mean anyone not on the mortgage or lease agreement.

A presentation at the meeting explained the dangers of property owners renting out rooms or parts of their homes without legal permission. The dangers presented were vague – mostly issues with overnight parking, and a complaint about a neighbor harboring a tenant in his garage. Nevertheless, Mayor Peter Cavallaro has made a statement that “landlords…are making money by victimizing people in the community and by victimizing the community as a whole.”

Supporters of the task force claim that it just “isn’t fair” that some people have tenants when everyone else is paying their $9,000 in yearly property taxes by themselves.

The HEU, as part of the Housing Enforcement Program, will conduct inspections without notice, increase housing violation fines, raise fees, and add new regulations for absentee landlords. A poster displayed at the town meeting stated menacingly, “Modify Search Warrant Law to Eliminate Prior Notice. Aggressively Use Warrants and Housing Sweeps on a Regular Basis — DONE!”

Thomas Liotti, the Village Justice, says this is about helping people find habitable housing. But he also adds that it is about “respecting property rights” – though it will punish those who choose to use their property in a particular way. And if someone chooses to live in another person’s garage, that’s their choice.

The town has begun distributing fliers about the HEU, including an email address and phone number for snitching on neighbors.

See a channel 12 newscast about the HEU below.


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  1. Franklin Wright

    BS !

  2. james

    what a crock of sh..

  3. anonymous

    This is the dumbest mpst selfish law ever, what if you can’t afford a place of your own yet and need a roof over your head? Damn right ill stay in someone’s garage rather than a cardboard box on the street, how about raising minimum wage and lowering property tax and costs of living in the county too?? I doubt that will happen because all these politicians care about is making money off of everyome possible

    1. Matt

      Do you see the hypocrisy of being FOR government set prices, like minimum wage or maximum wage laws AND also being FOR property rights?

      Renting our property from the government is exactly what yearly property taxes are.

      Being told how much you have to pay by an outside source is much less fair that both an employee and employer meeting at a mutually beneficial wage. Since it’s both offered and received in a voluntary (not coerced) way, it is inherently immoral to impose by force anything else is totalitarian.

      People ought to be able to do with their own property what they wish. If it affects their neighbors’ property values, that was a risk that the neighbors took by purchasing on such small lots, and it does not give close neighbors any rights whatsoever to impose their choices on your land.

      We’re so used to having are rights trampled upon, that we hardly recognize them as rights. We’ve even been brainwashed (by the state) in (state-run) schools, to believe that our rights are granted to us BY the State and can, at the whim of the State, have our rights revoked.

      Not so, our rights are Natural rights, and pre-existed any and all forms of government. At worst all a rogue state can do is to Violate (not revoke) our rights.

  4. Heather

    Insane. They’ve decided a homeowner can’t get a roommate if they want to without the town’s permission? WTF? Because idiots have determined it’s “not fair” that someone has found a way to help pay for the costs of home ownership? I understand laws against illegal apartments, but not letting someone rent a room in their home without adding that person to the mortgage is completely crazy.

  5. sal-junior

    Where did the men and women known as Public Servants, be it the police, the legislature, the mayor, or any other, have the authority to enter the homes of People without a warrant? Where do they have the authority to tell the People how to live their lives? If Public Servants have the authority to do what no man or woman has authority to do, then the People, who are the bosses in this country, also have the authority to enter the homes of the Public Servants without a warrant.

  6. Mrbikesalot

    Welcome to the USSA

  7. Polish girl

    I remember something like that in the history. Nazis were searching home for illegal Jews. And Communists were enforcing s snitching on your neighbors. Bravo New York State. I see a strong resemblance. Get a life people!

  8. James Babb

    Just don’t open the door. Don’t answer questions. Ignore them and they are powerless.

  9. Jennifer B.

    I’m really getting tired of our country’s inclination to make things illegal simply because they see those things as “problematic”. Rather than trying to solve the REAL problems, we just make the products of those problems illegal. As if that is the most efficient way to keep those things from happening.
    I am currently living in my friend’s garage because my fiancee and I were evicted in the middle of winter after he had been laid-off. We couldn’t afford our rent for ONE MONTH and at the end of that month when we couldn’t pay, we were given six days to vacate the premises with our belongings. My friend took us in out of the kindness of her heart, not because she was trying to break any laws.

    We have a lot of issues with unemployment in this country, thus a lot of people are really hurting for money. If you can’t get a job, you can’t make money. If you have no money you can’t pay rent or your mortgage. Sometimes it’s NECESSARY to temporarily live with a friend when you aren’t on their lease. The REAL problem has nothing to do with people living places illegally.
    If our government would pull their heads out of their asses and actually get our country back on track, I doubt these housing complaints would be so much of an issue.

    On a side note, to those in NY who were complaining about having to pay $9,000 in property taxes “on their own” would they not be paying the same amount regardless of whether or not their neighbors had extra roommates.

    Plus the whole law is a huge violation of personal privacy.

    1. phil matteson

      Hi Jen – My wife and I both agree with your EXCELLENT posting = GESTOPO bastards – Unreal – America –read Jens commennt – heed it well -Ignore it and be prepared to pay t the price – Bless you Jen – you speak with reality

  10. Keith Ligons

    Wow I am so glad I do not live in the New York area. This is B.S. and a invasion of privacy. You guys sound like a bunch of b*tches with sand in your cr*tches.

  11. tiffany267

    So the community is officially establishing old-style fascism and the news media isn’t even presenting a case for REAL property rights.

    This is why the U.S. is in decline.

  12. Bill Webb

    Is this even legal? Are they going to get a search work first? What if I own rental property? In my absentee landlord because I live across town? Are these two new enforcement officers going to be armed? Are they going to have arrest authority? What if they find something other than an “illegal tenant”? Fan on registered A.R.-15 or drugs?

    I don’t know, I see so much potential for police abuse in this situation, I’m glad I don’t live in Westbury.

    1. LibertyDoll

      I bet if they throw enough money at it it will be “legal.” Very sad.

    2. Eric

      Actually, here is a link to an article that more accurately explains what is going to happen. The village hired 2 new code enforcement officers to look into illegal housing. There is no police involvement. The code officers still need to get a search warrant to enter a property. People are still free to rent their homes, what they can’t do is turn their home into an illegal boarding house which has become a problem.

      1. LibertyDoll

        Thanks for this additional article. At the time that I wrote this blog (the day after the town meeting), the only thing out was the newscast and the original press release, which did state there would be police involvement.

  13. Tara

    Wow, instead of lowering property taxes or getting rid of some of the fat of the land in greedy Long Island, they go after the homeowner. I do not understand what right a town has to make illegal searches on private property. Get ready for more civil suits then you can imagine…lawyers be happy!

  14. none

    And what are guns for? or is that pic on the top not a pic of this new taskforce.

    1. LibertyDoll

      It’s not a picture of the particular task force, as they have not finished hiring the new officers. It’s a photo of just a general task force.

  15. Corey

    come in to my house without a search warrant and you’ll be face to face with the business end of a shotgun.

  16. Bec

    “The town has begun distributing fliers about the HEU, including an email address and phone number for snitching on neighbors.”

    I swear I hear Hitler’s voice.

  17. Anne Grace

    Sounds like the problem is with “overnight parking” and nothing else. So if your “unpermitted guest” doesn’t have a car, your neighbor won’t report you. Legally, you do not need to let the police into your home without a warrant. This all sounds like Hitler has been resurrected. Consider this, if I own the home and my boyfriend moves in, he is “illegal” because he is not on the mortgage! If my child moves away but needs to move back, will he be illegal too?! If my elderly parent moves in, will she be removed from the premises because she is not on the mortgage? Where will this stop. If Westbury, NY gets away with this, it will spread to other towns.

    1. LibertyDoll

      There’s certainly a worry of this spreading. Since writing it, people have contacted me from CA and other hard-blue places, saying their cities or towns have attempted or are currently attempting to pass similar laws.

    2. Brad

      Exactly right, Anne1

  18. darcy

    this will not stand in a court becauset it is unconstitutional.

    1. Clare

      Yes because the Constitution matters *so* much these days. Unfortunately, the Constitution is just a piece of paper that all these fascist pigs want to piss on at this point. Judges and lawyers are just as much sell outs as anyone else!

    2. phil matteson

      You are 100% RIGHT Darcy – One problem- these GESTPO bastards completely IGNORE the Constitution- been doin it for years- still doin it.

  19. Judy Pepenella

    This law now allows the police and/or task force to enter a dwelling AT ANY TIME to search your residence or business. This law needs to be challenged as it takes away the residents 4th Amendment rights.
    When you rent an house and/or apartment you are signing a lease that states how many people are or can live in the residence. You are signing a contract that is a legal and binding document.
    If you are a landlord who allows multiple rentals in a house, then prosecute the landlord AND shut down the house.
    However, if you are a homeowner and want to ‘rent a room’ to help you cover your expenses (without rezoning your residence to include the apartment) you will be screwed…
    This law now has set up the RIGHT of the Housing police to enter YOUR home (o business) when ever they choose and for what ever reason. I too see too much potential for police abuse.

  20. Maureen Johnson

    I live in Westbury, this is a terrible problem we have, many homes are turned into rooming houses, they rent out rooms to an entire family, it’s a fire hazard, 7,8 kids come out of these homes but the landlord pays taxes on a single family home, , not fair, the parking on the streets is terrible ,6 cars to a house,

  21. Brad

    Gestapo started out like this but they were looking for Jews. This seems unconstitutional at best. People need to rise up and do something about this NOW before they take it to the next level.

  22. Alex

    I’m so glad I don’t live in America. But we here in Australia aren’t too far behind you.
    Your country is well and truly F*cked
    you need to revolt. Now.

  23. What?

    What right does a governmental entity have to restrict how you live in your own property?

  24. Anonymous II

    Hope they have lots of money for legal fees cause they will be getting their butts sued. The ACLU will NOT allow this to happen to homeowners.

  25. Mario Kenny

    well the whole town will end up in foreclosure, companies who buy tax deeds will make a killing. Can adult offspring with spouses and their kids live the the patients home? can random family live in the home, and help pay the bills?

    I think that tax deed companies should move into this market asap there is money to be made.

  26. Christopher

    I live near Albany, NY, and this scares the living sh*t out of me. I can already see the headlines from the first time sone homeowner kills or maims an officer by accident, and how everyone will feel sorry foe the cop, and not the law-abiding homeowner that was merely protecting what he/she has the right to defend…this country is BEYOND PITIFUL.

  27. Sue

    I lived in Westbury for 15 years and when I went to contract on the sale of the home the new buyers informed me there was a sex offender living 2 doors away. The home was turned into a boarding house after the owner past away and relatives took over the property. After the help of my attorney the Village stepped in to find that all the rooms in the house were rented out and only the kitchen was a common room. This lowered the price of the home drastically and delayed the sale by months and landed up costing much more in attorney fees –

    Our taxes were $13,000 a year for school county and village and the home was located in the Carle Place school district !
    So please continue the crack down it is unsafe for neighbors and the tenants themselves especially illegal basements!

  28. Stephanie

    I am VERY STRONLY against this! I am a resident of Westbury and this sounds unlawful in so many ways. I completly agree that houses with 20+ people living in 4 rooms is wrong, but what about people who rent a room to one or two people to help pay the EXPENSIVE taxes imposed on Long Islanders. This is INSANE!! Someone make a petition and I will be more than happy to sign it.

    1. LibertyDoll

      Agreed. While there are certainly some homes that may be renting to an abundance of people or have unsafe conditions, I’m sure it’s not the norm.

  29. Lauren Birke

    How can they seriously get away with unlawful searches of private homes without a warrant? There is no justice in this disgusting new law. Instead of fixing the PROBLEM and lowering property taxes in counties in long island, which are 5 folds more expensive than any other county in the entire country, they have devised a law where an officer can enter your home at any moment to search for “illegal residents” WTF is wrong with WESTBURY? I am contacting the mayor RIGHT NOW and telling him HOW DISGUSTING this new implication is. You should too! mayor@villageofwestbury.org

  30. phil matteson

    I salute all you folks who think this is nothing more than GESTOPO TACTICS- Time to throw tea in the harbor again – Maybe this time NOT JUST TEA !!!!!!!!!!!!

  31. phil matteson

    Might as well shut down the entire Dept of Social Services – This is their ONLY way to get shelter for people in need of housing – Thank you Lauren Birke for the info

  32. sam

    What a dum.as law I Wana smack that person who passed it .You idiot where would we go dum

  33. Isles

    My block has what it appears to be an illegal housing. 15 to 20 adults in one house. Six or seven cars parked in the driveway and on the street. I believe it’s said they don’t have to warn them that they’re coming but they can enter the house with a search warrant. If I wanted to see all these cars parked on the street I would go live in the city not in the suburbs.

  34. PAUL

    Anyone opposed to this, please contact:




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  37. Little Lee

    I agree, this is bullshit and 100% illegal to enter anyone’s home/ property without the owners consent.. I dont know what gives anyone the right to invade people’s privacy and their life. Landlords work hard to have a house of their own and should not have there rights violated by NO ONE or be told who they can/cannot have in their home. If they need to rent a room or garage out to a family member or citizen of the United states because of financial crisis that there having and don’t want to lose their home, I can’t see what the problem is if there not hurting anyone. There are so many homeless people as it is. This is because people can’t afford to pay these high rents. There are so many people out of work or have extremely low income. We have the elderly, disabled, sick, retired and unemployed that can only afford a room or garage etc, should they be homeless or thrown out into the street because they can’t afford the high rents now of days? Long Island parking shouldn’t be a problem for anyone, nor should anyone tell you where you can or cannot park, they dont own the street. I’m not saying its ok, to have 10 people in one room, thats were social services need to investigate the situation.But one person, single mom with a child or a couple renting a room, garage, one bedroom or studio should bot be a problem, as New York really needs to worry about the real issues. Everyone should take Lauren Birke advise and do something.Also agree with the Hitler comments, you hit the nail on the head with that one for sure.

  38. Phillip Evans

    You’re not getting into my house unless you’ve got a search warrant.

    We still have the 4th Amendment in this country, although it has been watered down, with efforts to continue to do so still underway.

    The government wants its “freedom to do stuff to us”, you know? It’s for our own good. (insert warm fuzzy feeling here)

  1. Anonymous

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