A man who has been renting a Southampton Village home for the past two years has been arrested and charged with 29 misdemeanors and violations, accused of allowing more than 35 people to live at the single-family residence at one time.
Shortly after 6 a.m. on August 13, Southampton Village Police, the village building inspector and the village fire marshal executed a search warrant looking for New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code violations and Residential Code and Property Maintenance Code violations at the property, located at 118 West Prospect Street.
According to a press release issued by police and Village Building Inspector Jonathan Foster, more than 35 people were found to be using the single-family property, which is listed in foreclosure, as a home. The main tenant listed on the lease, Brian Cowell Jr., 32, was subsequently charged with 29 violations from varying agencies, all misdemeanors.
Violations included having no smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, having heat in an unauthorized accessory building, exceeding the maximum occupancy while creating a hazard without proper egresses, having unsafe electrical wiring and devices, and having non-habitable sleeping spaces.
Mr. Cowell is scheduled to appear in Southampton Village Justice Court on Monday, August 26, at noon.
According to the Building Department, property owners Wayne M. Swiderski and Susan F. Stubelek, who are abandoning the property for foreclosure, will not face charges. Mr. Foster said the Building Department has reached out to the two banks on file as having mortgages for the house, Deutsche Bank and Wells Fargo, but have not had a response from either institution.
Following the raid, the house has been deemed uninhabitable.