Consumer, Syracuse

Syracuse Common Council Considers Changes to Rental Property Laws

Councilor Khalid Bey has pushed for changes to rental inspection laws since 2016. (c) 2018 James Hilepo


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Audio Transcript:Hilepo_RentalRegistry

By James Hilepo SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — The Syracuse Common Council is considering changes to the laws regarding rental property inspections. Councilor-at-Large Khalid Bey introduced the measure to the council and continues to reaffirm his belief in the need for change.


The law in question states that Code Enforcement officials can inspect the exterior of one- and two-family homes but need the permission of the landlord to enter the house. In some situations, the tenant is able to grant the officials access, yet many times the landlord can override this permission.


Changing the law to allow interior inspections in the case of a tenant’s complaint, without the approval of the landlord, is Bey’s main focus on this issue. “It’s very necessary for us as a government,” he insisted, “to do our job and protect the people from these kinds of predatory situations.”


Bey tried to pass the same measure in 2016 but was unsuccessful, as the legislation was defeated by a vote of 5-4. The councilor cites political reasons, not simple disagreement on the measure itself, as the reason for its failure.


The council has changed some of its membership since the measure was first introduced in 2016, losing two of the members who originally voted against the legislation. However, Bey believes those same political interests that killed the amendment two years ago are the main challenge for the current attempt.


“You still have the politics,” Bey explained. “You still have the people who, for whatever reason, are choosing special interests in the way of a few business property owners against that of the people who elected them to protect them and provide services for them.”


Still motivated, Bey noted that the problems he tried to address two years ago have not changed at all in the interim. “You have houses that are exposed to elements. You have houses that are rodent-infested. You have houses that are essentially falling apart and the landlords are not making any investment to improve it, so we have to provide the people some kind of remedy.”


Bey hopes to push the legislation forward in the coming weeks.