Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Protecting Residents and First Responders: Clarkstown Cracks Down On Illegal Housing

There is no question that the nation’s migrant crisis has begun to impact us all over Rockland
County, including right here in Clarkstown. Our police department has reported an increased
number of peddling complaints in several retail plazas and an uptick in reports of people
rummaging through residential recycling bins. In many cases, the police are reporting these
encounters are with people who have just recently arrived in the United States. While these are
relatively minor quality of life concerns, there is a much bigger problem involving illegal housing
brewing that simply will not be tolerated in Clarkstown.


In just the past 30 days, Clarkstown held two press conferences to alert the public of two recent
instances where large numbers of recent migrants were being housed in overcrowded, unsafe,
and unsanitary conditions in homes which were being illegally rented. In both cases, the Town
of Clarkstown executed search warrants to confirm the violations and obtained court-ordered
injunctions to vacate the properties and eliminate the dangerous conditions.


The first property was a small, Cape-Cod style home at 295 New Hempstead Road in New City.
There were as many as 34 people crammed into every available area of the residence. The
home was owned by Shloima Koppel, who claims to have no knowledge at all as to how the
property was being used. As a result of that investigation, it came to light that this residence and
338 others in Rockland County were being managed by a Monsey-based company known as
First Choice Management. Thirty-seven of those properties are located in Clarkstown, of which
sixteen are currently suspected to be in violation of Town Code.


In addition to pursuing the violations on the individual property at 295 New Hempstead, the
Town is taking further legal action in an attempt to get access to all the First Choice managed
properties with apparent violations. The Town Council unanimously authorized a resolution to
hire outside counsel in order to take all necessary legal action to stop this behavior. We will not
rest until we can be certain that all these properties are in compliance with our codes.


The second property raided was located at 168 West Clarkstown Road. Again, a search warrant
was issued to confirm the suspected violations and up to 25 migrants were jammed into a
dangerously overcrowded single family home. This included multiple beds found in an attic
which was accessible only through a crawl space. In the event of a fire, this would have created
life-threatening conditions for both the occupants and our first responders.


We should all agree that people need to live in a safe environment that meets fire and safety
code standards. It is beyond reckless to place the lives of human beings into what are
essentially death traps in the event of a fire, and it is unconscionable to put our first responders at risk in having to navigate through these conditions. Clarkstown will not stand for this, and we will use every tool at our disposal to find, prosecute, and bring these violators into compliance. Under my administration, Clarkstown has quadrupled the number of Code Enforcement Officers we employ, and currently operates the largest Code Enforcement team of any town in Rockland. However, they cannot be everywhere and the eyes and ears of the public are the most effective resource we have in identifying these illegal rentals. If you see something, say something.


To report a suspected violation you can contact the Town Building Department at 845-639-2100,
Supervisor’s Office at 845-639-2050, or use the Town of Clarkstown 311 app.