The Syracuse Common Council vote to legislate a new biennial inspection on rental properties is expected to move forward in two weeks. According to Syracuse.com, the council held a committee meeting in early February to discuss the details of the legislation.
The law was put forth by Councilor-At-Large Khalid Bey. Bey had previously introduced a similar bill back in 2016, which had been defeated in a vote of 5-4 after backlash from property owners. However, with four new council members appointed, Bey introduced another new rental registry law this past January in the hopes this bill would pass.
The new rental registry law would require single-family and two-family rental properties to undergo a code inspection biannually. The goal of the bill is to ensure rental properties housing a lower number of tenants are just as safe as those housing multiple tenants.
The current rental registry law in Syracuse requires a code enforcement officer to inspect a rental property from the outside in order to be approved for tenant occupancy. Bey’s proposal would require an interior inspection to also take place.
Interior inspections would guarantee rental properties are adequately safe for occupancy. For instance, as many as 235,000 people experience injuries in the bathroom every year, according to the Center for Disease Control. Bey’s bill would help to reduce the risk of such injuries as well as health risks.
The vote on the bill has been delayed once before and then a second time on Monday, February 26 after a request from the administration. Khalid Bey reports that the request was made in order for the new corporation counsel to be able to review and edit the law prior to the vote to ensure it’s in its best possible form.
“The administration is in support of it,” said Bey. “We’re just trying to find a way to make it happen.”
In the event that the bill is passed, the law will have a delayed activation date. This is to give Syracuse’s code enforcement division, headed by Director Ken Towsley, the time to find the best way to enforce the law.
Bey says he’s confident that he has enough votes this time around in order to have the new rental registry law passed. The Common Council’s next session to vote on the bill is scheduled for Monday, March 12.