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A. Thomas Levin Scores Client Victory
Court: Hempstead's Landlord Law Illegal
January 19, 2012
Media Source:Newsday
Written By:Aisha Al-Muslim

The Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court has declared Hempstead Village's rental registration and inspection law unconstitutional.

The Appellate Division's unanimous Jan. 10 decision invalidated the 2009 law requiring all residential landlords register their properties and allow village authorities to inspect without notice or a search warrant. In April 2010, the State Supreme Court in Nassau County dismissed a lawsuit filed by 38 landlords challenging the law. They appealed that dismissal.

"This ruling means that the village will not be able to . . . demand access to properties without cause, and without properly obtaining a rightful search warrant," said the property owners' attorney, A. Thomas Levin of Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein P.C. of Garden City.

The law prohibited landlords from collecting rent if they didn't consent to inspections.

Village Attorney Debra Urbano-DiSalvo said the village "is currently reviewing the appellate division decision and will amend its statute to comply with the concerns of the court and to ensure and that it passes constitutional muster."

The law also required landlords to obtain rental registration permits from the village's building department. Violators could have faced fines from $2,500 to $20,000, and as many as 15 days in jail. The Appellate Division's decision bars the village from requiring a $50 nonrefundable permit application fee for each rental unit. The court also ordered that the case be returned to the State Supreme Court in Nassau County.

Levin said he will review the village's changes and continue to pursue the lawsuit in the lower court over remaining concerns about the permitting requirement.

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