State considers bill to make illegal housing conversions a felony

A proposal introduced to the state legislature by Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski and supported by Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee seeks to designate illegal renovations to houses which could endanger first responders as a felony-level offense.

Under the proposed laws, conversions to increase occupancy would be felonies if the party does not have all necessary permits and is in violation with state fire regulations, building and zoning laws. Rockland firefighters have long criticized illegally subdivided housing as dangerous and have pointed to injuries sustained by first responders during fire emergencies which could have been prevented by better planning.

The measure is currently under deliberation in the code committees of both houses.