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Squatters Causing Alarm in North Babylon

Parkdale Civic Association to meet Monday night to address issue of foreclosed homes being illegally occupied.

This vacant home at 8 Kime Avenue is set to be boarded up. Photo Credit: Google Maps
This vacant home at 8 Kime Avenue is set to be boarded up. Photo Credit: Google Maps
When a squatter takes up residence in an abandoned home, getting them removed takes a lot more than a simple phone call to authorities as some North Babylon residents are finding out. 

Under New York State law, squatters are classified as tenants and receive temporary rights after living in a property for a period of 30 days. If a squatter refuses to leave, an eviction notice can be filed in court, but that's no quick process.  

In the Parkdale section of North Babylon, which is just north of the Southern State Parkway and east of Deer Park Avenue, Babylon Town officials are currently investigating a half dozen properties that may either be inhabited by squatters or could be targets for squatters. Most of those homes are abandoned and are in the process of foreclosure. 

"We are going to address each of the particular addresses that have been brought to our attention and be as aggressive as we have been in the past," said Babylon Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer, who has already met with members of the Parkdale Civic Association on the topic and will attend a civic meeting Monday night to address the issue. 

For the latest updates, follow Deer Park-North Babylon Patch on Facebook and Twitter

Frustrated Parkdale-area residents, who are concerned with property values taking a hit, are ready for something to be done. 

"They fraudulently have utilities and cable services turned on," a local resident told Patch of the squatters in an email. "They have also called the police on neighbors claiming harassment for driving by and looking at them or trying to take pictures for the town inspectors." 

Although a half dozen properties are currently on the Town's radar and more may be after Monday's civic meeting, Schaffer said it's unknown how many of those properties involve actually squatters.

Town officials do believe that one squatting family has moved from one address on Kime Avenue to another on Greenwood Drive and is now living at a home on Weeks Road. 

"The home on Weeks Road we know to be in the foreclosure process," Schaffer said, "and we think should be vacant so we are aggressively working on that address to get those people out of there and get it properly secured and cleaned up." 

Two of the homes–8 Kime Avenue and 100 Kime Avenue–are both considered vacant and the Babylon Town Board is set to declare them a public hazard and authorize emergency board-ups of those properties at its meeting Monday afternoon. 

There have been no such reports in the Town of Babylon, but there have been cases across the country of scammers representing themselves as landlords of abandoned homes and then renting out the properties. In 2011, Richard Scott, who had moved to the South, returned to his foreclosed Bay Shore home and found someone else living there. 

"She asked me what I was doing at her house!" Scott said, according to a 2011 ABC 7 story

A scammer had listed Scott's home on Craigslist and collected a $4,000 deposit from a renter. 

According to study released in April by the Empire Justice Center, a non-profit law firm, North Babylon and Deer Park were among the 19 zip codes (out of 94 county wide) with the "greatest foreclosure impact." In Deer Park, 581 pre-foreclosure filing notices were sent out in the first half of 2012. In North Babylon, 337 notices, which represent the first stage of a bank repossessing a home, were sent out during that same time period.  

While home prices are trickling back up, unlike many parts of the country, New York is not near the end of its foreclosure crisis, according to the study. 

"Our current crisis is due more to economic downturn and loss of income, rather than the housing boom and subprime bust," the report says. 

Because of that crisis and the state law that essentially gives a squatter the same rights as a "legal" tenant, a law that Schaffer said "must be changed," it could be a while before squatters are no longer calling someone else's home their own. 

In the meantime, Schaffer said the Town will "have to get creative" and use every angle of the law to remove squatters. 

"If they are there and we believe them to be squatters," he said, "they will know that we are on top of them because we will be there just about every day."


Gene McParland September 09, 2013 at 03:23 PM
We had Channel12 News here today and showed them part of our problem. There will be an civic area meeting tonight (9/9) at Parliament Place Cafeteria at 7:30. This issue will be explored and idscussed at this meeting. Gene McParland, president, Parkdale Civic Ass.
Rod Miller September 10, 2013 at 08:37 AM
The Town and Suffolk County Police have known about the house on Weeks Road for months for months. It's a disgrace. A man was shot at the home. Police were called. Now 6 months later the Town is going to crack down? Squatters right? What about the rights of the people who live next door to the house? They've been law abiding, tax paying Town residents for 50+ years. They spoke to police and Town Hall and got no support. They has a new fence installed in front of their property- installer made a mistake with fence height- town sent a threatening complaint letter within days. Classic. Life lesson- squat in a house and use it to sell drugs and prostitute, shoot a man even, Town and County don't care, actually protect you- pay taxes on a house since 1961, follow the law with no issues, but hire the wrongfencing company and you will feel the wrath of the Town of Babylon within hours. There's a reason this community is become a shadow of its former self. Thanks Bellone and Schaffer- keep up the good work in turning Babylon into the 3rd world.
vincent familio September 10, 2013 at 12:47 PM
If elected ofgicials dont change the laws and take care of squatters we will vote them out of office

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