Column: The real scoop | Greenwich Sentinel

By Carline Martin

Here is the selected question for this month:

Q: I lived in Greenwich for many years. During the summer months, one of my favorite things to do is to visit Island Beach. I have always wondered about the small island with the structure that is almost attached to Island Beach at low tide. Can you tell me something about this?

A: Thank you for inquiring about this oft-regarded property. I have often heard other people asking about this island and myself have wondered if it is private property or if it belongs to the city. Your question prompted me to start looking for information, and with the help of some articles shared with me by Christopher Shields, Curator of the Greenwich Historical Society Library and Archives, I discovered some interesting information.

This small island, known as Wee Captain’s Island (nicknamed “The Clump”) is part of the 3-island chain, which also includes Little Captain’s Island (Island Beach) and Great Captain’s Island. This chain of islands lies about 4 miles from the mainland with a history dating back to the settlement of Greenwich. Historically, a well-known pirate, Captain Kidd is believed to have buried his treasure among Captain’s Island and other islands in Long Island Sound, including the Thimble Islands. Although it can be assumed that the islands take their name from this infamous captain, it is more likely that it was an early Greenwich settler named Captain Daniel Patrick who gave the name we still use to refer to these he is.

While Great Captain’s Island and Island Beach are owned by the City of Greenwich, Wee Captain’s Island is actually privately owned. The small island is home to 5 rustic structures that are said to be the only private structures in town accessible only by boat. The structures were built in 1949 by F. LeMoyne Page as a summer residence. As the owner of a New York-based company that sold advertising space to commuter railroads, he reportedly spent summers on the island, traveling to the mainland by boat and then hopping on a train to Grand Central. He owned the island until his death in 1964.

Although I have not been able to get updated information on the current state of the island, as of 2010 the island was owned by the family of Donald Smiley, who purchased the island after Page’s death. For those who may be wondering how one would handle the winters living on the island, the answer is that they don’t. In her article for the February 7, 2010 edition of The Greenwich Times, Lisa Chermoff quotes Smiley’s grandson, who has spent many summers on the island, describing the structures as unwintered and “not stable to stay too long time”. In other words, intended for summer use only.

Greenwich is renowned for being home to many precious gems, some better known than others. This tiny island, which has intrigued many locals for decades, is another jewel in its crown.

Q: I recently purchased a multi-family rental property as a first-time owner. I would like to know what laws I have to follow regarding the choice of tenants.

A: That’s an excellent question. As a landlord, it is important that you familiarize yourself with the laws that you must follow. As a rental applicant, even in a protected class as defined below. , may be refused for reasons unrelated to their protected status, they may not be refused for any of the following reasons:

Race, physical or mental disability, sex, marital status, religion, color, children or marital status, veteran status, age, ancestry, sexual orientation or legal source of income.

For example, some candidates may ask you whether or not you agree to section 8. Your answer to this question must always be “yes”. Section 8 is a legal source of income and you cannot refuse a tenant because you believe they will not be able to pay their rent because they are receiving assistance. In fact, because your payment will be approved and generated by the state, you are guaranteed to get paid.

Another example would be the obligation to make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. Some landlords refuse to authorize modifications to their dwelling to accommodate a disabled tenant. Legally, however, they have to make this allowance as long as the renter agrees to return the unit to its original condition upon departure. For more information on protected class laws, please visit

Each candidate must be held to the same standard. This is true when it comes to accepting or refusing tenants. Each candidate should be invited to follow the same selection process. Although there are laws protecting certain categories of individuals for reasons related to their category, a landlord has the right to refuse an applicant based on any of the following, whether it is a category protected or not:

Unsatisfactory rental history or references from previous landlords or employers, evictions, bad credit, frequent moves, smoking, pets (excluding service animals), no work history or length of employment inadequate, no verifiable income.

Once you’ve chosen your tenant, it’s equally important that you respect what you can and can’t do as a landlord. Even though you may own the building, the unit your tenant resides in is legally their space for the period stated in their lease. During this period, the landlord must respect the rights of the tenant. Here are some do’s and don’ts on behalf of the owner:

• A landlord is not permitted to enter the tenant’s space without notice, except in an emergency

• An owner cannot prohibit documented service animals

• A landlord cannot change locks without notice

• A landlord cannot disconnect essential utilities, such as heat, electricity and water

• A homeowner must make reasonable repairs

It’s also important to keep in mind that in Connecticut, a landlord cannot collect more than a 2 month security deposit and a month’s rent payment in advance. If the tenant is over 62, the lessor cannot collect more than one month’s deposit and one month’s rent in advance.

Being a landlord is a bigger responsibility than some think. Following the law and treating your rental like a business will be key to your success. You must exercise due diligence to avoid any missteps. It would be wise to consult a real estate lawyer and/or hire the services of a licensed real estate agent to help you find a tenant.

SEND ME YOUR QUESTIONS – If you have a real estate or home related question that you would like a professional opinion on, please email me at [email protected] with “Sentinel” in the line. ‘object. Each month I will provide answers to one or two selected questions. Email me your real questions. I look forward to hearing from you!

This article does not offer the opinions of Berkshire Hathaway/New England Properties and is not intended to provide legal or tax advice.

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