The changes in the state of the economy have produced changes in living arrangements for many people. Most cities in the United States have legal codes that detail what type of structure a building is. If the structure is not zoned as a multiple family dwelling, it is illegal to use it as one. With the downturn of the economy, many larger homes in New York have been purchased by slum lords who illegally subdivide them into multiple family dwellings. A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer said when a code enforcement agent is notified that an illegal boarding house is in existence, they must investigate the claim. Some of the indicators that they look for that suggest that a house is being used as an illegal rooming house involve the existence of extra kitchens, plumbing, or bedrooms located in a basement. Sometimes a home will have a mother-in-law suite in the basement that is occupied by a close relative. That is not an illegal boarding arrangement even if the relative helps with the bills on the house. If the mother-in-law suite is occupied by a family who is paying rent to the homeowner and is not related to the homeowner, they are probably in violation of the city codes.
When two distinct families are residing in a house that is zoned as single family dwellings, the homeowner could be found to be in violation of the housing codes. Another red flag that may expose an illegal rooming house is if the code enforcement investigator observes evidence that there are separately keyed entrances, or key locked doors on individual rooms within the house. Individual locks indicate that separate privacy zones exist in the house. A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer said that these separate zones are the sleeping quarters of persons who are either distantly related, or not related at all to the home owner, it is possible that the homeowner is in violation of the housing codes.
Other evidence can also demonstrate that a house is being used as an illegal rooming house. One way that an illegal rooming house is exposed is often through the utility usages of the home. When more than the normal number of people are living in a single family dwelling, the utility usage becomes extreme. One of the first indicators of a large number of people in a single family house is an increase in garbage that is put out to be collected. More people make more trash. They also use more water and electricity. A spike in either of these utilities can indicate that a single family zoned home is being used as an illegal boarding house. Code enforcement agents may use search warrants, but they are rarely necessary in the course of their investigations. Some code enforcement agents in larger cities often use search warrants because it is the only way to see inside of the residence if the people living there refuse to allow them access. A Suffolk County Sex Crime Lawyer said when they do obtain search warrants, they are generally limited to warrants that are executed during the day, or other times when the intrusion is less invasive than execution of a warrant in the middle of night. The execution of a code enforcement warrant should be less of an intrusion into the private lives of the citizens of the jurisdiction than the execution of a criminal warrant. However, when law enforcement officers are involved, their expertise is often limited to criminal warrants and most have never served a code enforcement warrant in their careers.