FULTON, NY – The Fulton Common Council held a workshop last week to prepare for an impending war against negligent landlords throughout the city.
Mayor Ronald Woodward Sr. and administrative assistant to the Mayor, Kathy Trowbridge led the meeting with five of the city’s common councilors in what Trowbridge referred to as a “pep rally” to ensure all councilors were aware of city-wide expectations and how to enforce them.
Emphasizing that the crack down will target negligent landlords, Trowbridge said the goal is to aggressively pursue landlords that are considered “repeat offenders” that do not adhere to the city’s code and charter.
“Our homeowners deserve this. Our city deserves to be better than this. We do respect the many good landlords but we know the bad ones and we’re coming after you,” Trowbridge warned.
The Common Council announced an August 1, 2018 deadline before cracking down on what has been referred to as a “war” against negligent landlords.
“We will give you a chance to critically look at your properties and to be good neighbors. Evaluate your properties because you have one month, and then we’re coming after you,” Trowbridge said.
A small group of city residents approached the Common Council at the last regular meeting with concerns of unaddressed code violations they have noticed that affect the look and feel of their neighborhood.
In allowing these properties to continue ignoring city code regulations, homeowners in the area become discouraged in maintaining and beautifying their own properties, they said.
“People are saying the city is not doing its job, the city not look good. We’re sick of hearing that,” Trowbridge said. “We’re giving our aldermen all the tools we can. If they can’t do it all, they can come ask for help and we’re going to do it because we’re done. We’re sick of it.”
The Common Council is committed to waging this war in an effort to provide better living environments for the homeowners of the city that invest in their property and community.
The meeting’s notice stated, “Homeowners are not likely to invest if they are surrounded by bad looking properties that attract renters that cause neighborhood disturbances.”
Mayor Woodward referenced one such known property that has warranted police response on 24 occasions since January 2018.
“We want to let these people know we expect more for our homeowners. We expect our homeowners to have a better quality of life consistently. We want the (landlords) to invest in our properties, not just make a profit,” Trowbridge said.
The council discussed a list of expectations to ensure all non-owner occupied residential houses are maintaining.
They include: routinely mowing tall grass and weeds, trimming around fences, steps, porches, sheds, and public right of way areas, maintaining sidewalks in good and safe order, safe steps with handrails, roofs in good condition, scraping and repainting chipped paint in matching color, replacing broken shingles and siding with like material and matching color, investor providing (or requiring tenant to provide) appropriate number of garbage and recyclable receptacles for tenant use, ensuring no loose garbage bags to be stored on property, garbage and recyclable cans are stored on side or rear of property with the exception of winter months, ensuring all accessory structures are maintained and structurally sound, visible and appropriate housing numbers are displayed where they can be easily seen from the roadway, ensuring driveways meet all commissioner specs with accepted materials and provide enough parking, foundation is maintained with no cracks to prevent entry of pests and insects, ensuring windows are framed with screens that fit windows and cannot be nailed or stapled to the house.
Though the list of code regulations encompasses more than those included, these are often unadhered to guidelines that the city will be cracking down on among several others.
Additionally, the city will target commercial businesses that don’t properly care for their property, especially those located on main incoming routes to the city.
Such expectations for commercial properties include: “Mowing, plowing, sidewalk maintenance, showing pride in business and community.”
The efforts to crack down on landlords throughout the city is ongoing following changes to city code earlier this year.
In April, the Common Council adopted amendments to city code that require landlords living outside of city limits to direct a property manager residing with 25 miles. Each month a property manager goes undesignated, landlords will accrue a $200 fee.
Similarly, landlords will not be permitted new or renewed rental permits if they are in violation of any city code or owe unpaid property taxes, water and sewer bills, or fees of any nature owed to the City of Fulton. Any landlord that does not obtain a rental permit will accrue a $200 fine each month until such permit is obtained.
Code violations that go unresolved result in court appearances.
Fulton Police Department and Fulton Fire Department are on board with city officials and will work together in any way necessary.
“Fulton aims to take back it’s city,” council president representing the Third Ward, Donald Patrick Jr. said, and they intend to do just that.
The City of Fulton’s Code and Charter can be accessed online through the city’s website where you can also find information to contact the Mayor’s Office or any of the city’s common councilors with questions or concerns.