Rockland Codes Initiatives sidesteps inspectors, goes after landlords
The Rockland Codes Initiative is being lauded by lawmakers for using the county’s Health Department, not building inspectors, to investigate complaints and fine landlords for sanitary violations.
State Sen. James Skoufis says Westchester and other counties should adopt the program.
“This is a unique program that should not be unique,” he says. “We need to see this replicated all throughout the state.”
Jennifer Rivera called Rockland Codes Initiative this spring after living in an illegally converted eight-bedroom home in Spring Valley for two years. Inspectors from the county's Health Department showed up and found nearly 50 health code violations. Now, they're going after the home's landlord.
In the four years since it launched, Rockland Codes Initiative has discovered more than 28,000 violations in over 450 homes.
Tenants like Anna Carafas, who filed a complaint with RCI about her rental in Spring Valley, say the program drastically improves living situations.
“I was dead in the water without this program because my local village government wasn't going to do a darn thing,” she says.