ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. - The owners of a Spring Valley home that was damaged by fire was cited and fined for multiple violations of the Rockland County Sanitary Code, according to County Executive Ed Day.
A fire broke out on Tuesday morning at a Prospect Street home, forcing six people to flee from the structure. Following an inspection, the Rockland County Department of Health determined that there were as many as seven violations of the code.
The Health Department has since posted notice that the residence is unsafe and unfit for occupation, according to Day.
Day said that inspectors found that the three-story home had been illegally subdivided into four apartments, with the owners living in one apartment and renting the other three. The attic apartment, where the fire started, was did not have a second exit, smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors.
Additionally, inspectors noted that a basement apartment had an air conditioning unit blocking a unit, a violation of the code. The owners were also cited for failing to register with the Rockland County Rental Registry, which requires owners of residences with three or more units to register with the Department of Health and to provide a certificate of occupancy and other information.
According to Day, it’s been more than three months since the Rental Registry went into effect. The owners must register or they face fines of up to $2,000 per day.
”We were very lucky that no one was hurt in this home, which had many safety issues, including a lack of smoke detectors," Day stated. "It could have been a death trap. “This appears to be the kind of unsafe rental housing that we are working diligently to force owners to improve. This fire shows us once again that the risk to tenants is real.
“We have been focusing on educating landlords about this requirement. Now we are going to start issuing violations to get compliance."
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