By Claire Walla
The house had been on the town’s radar since last summer, said Southampton Town Chief Investigator David Betts. He had received numerous noise complaints and several reports of overcrowding at the Noyac Road home, just south of the fork where Noyac and Deerfield Roads meet.
To get to the bottom of the issue, last Sunday, July 24 Betts executed a search warrant and discovered 25 people had been staying in the house — all on a short-term basis. Both circumstances violate Southampton Town code.
According to investigators, the house has a certificate of occupancy for six legal bedrooms.
“So, you’re probably talking about [a maximum occupancy] of eight to 10 people,” Betts explained.
However, upon inspection, investigators discovered that the basement had been illegally converted into four bedroom spaces and a separate living area had been fashioned above the garage. That space was discovered to have been used by two people who were not part of the larger group leasing the house this past weekend.
The homeowners, Muhammad and Anessa Raham of New York City, have been charged with several town code violations in the wake of this weekend’s investigation. They include: no rental permit, operation of a transient rental, excessive vehicles, no building permit, no smoke detectors (two counts), no carbon monoxide detectors (three counts) and change of use (two counts).
Betts said this weekend’s investigation comes after 12 complaints were recorded in 2010 and eight so far reported this year. The complaints range from excessive noise and overcrowding, to the construction of a sand volleyball court built on the property without a permit, as well as reports of the Noyac facility being used to host a prom after-party.
The property at 2210 Noyac Road is currently listed on several real estate sites as a seven-bedroom rental. According to Corcoran, it has “a spectacular great room and a finished lower level with a separate apartment.” (The listing also indicates that the location is currently rented.)
On streeteasy.com, the same property is priced at $20,000 for the month of June and $45,000 for the month of July, although short-term rental (for an unspecified period of time) is also available for $4,000. (This website also indicates the property is “no longer available as of four months ago.”)
Even though short-term rentals have become relatively commonplace on the East End, as it is a popular waterfront vacation destination, leasing property for less than 30 days is illegal in Southampton Town. Betts explained that homeowners can lawfully lease property for 30 days or more, but only after having received a permit from the town.
All 25 guests this past weekend were reportedly leaving the facility that day. But, authorities say the property had been booked solid for the entire summer.
Now that charges have been pressed against the homeowners, Betts said the house is permitted to be occupied by the family or even by renters, but can only be made available for the “shortest term lease” (30 days). And in that case, the Rahmans would need a permit.