New lawmakers on Syracuse’s Common Council are trying to tackle problems with rental properties by starting up an interior inspection program of the city’s one- and two-family rental properties.
Councilor At-Large Khalid Bey tried to enact changes in the city’s Rental Registry two years ago, but fierce pressure from landlords stopped the bill in its tracks. Bey said he hopes that new lawmakers will be more receptive to the idea.
“I always say that people vote for us for change, and the only way we make change is legislatively,” Bey said. “My intent now is just to work with them to kind of find out what their concerns and issues are. If we have to make adjustments, we’ll make adjustments. But we need something on the books.”
The current registry allows exterior inspections of one- and two- family rental units by a code enforcement officer. Bey believes having interior inspections every two years as well will give inspections the boost they need to make sure renters do not have to deal with unfair living situations.
"We need this to ensure that people that have been living in deplorable conditions for years, days for months, can really get some recourse,” Bey said. “I’ve received so many calls…from a couple of years ago from so many people, most of whom didn’t even live in my district, about absentee landlordism and concerns about everything from exposure to the elements to rodent infestation."
Lawmakers will take on the issue at a committee meeting this week. Bey said there may be some minor changes to the law from the one he proposed two years ago.