Mayor Barlow Pitches New Code Enforcement Strategy, Pressures Landlords

OSWEGO, NY – Mayor Billy Barlow announced today (Sept. 15) his proposal and strategy to hold city landlords accountable and pressure landlords into maintaining their property and treating their tenants fairly.

Barlow proposes increasing the rental permit fee in the city of Oswego to $150 for a three-year period, five times more expensive than the current $30 fee.

The mayor also will pitch to the Common Council a change in a local law (The Code of the City of Oswego, New York, Chapter 149, Housing Standards Section 149-6) which he says will give the city of Oswego code enforcement office more authority to inspect and prosecute landlords who are in violation of the city housing standard.

The law gives the city of Oswego Code Enforcement office the ability to conduct a hearing on a property and order the property to be remedied, vacated or demolished if it is a danger to public health.

“For decades city landlords have taken advantage of a lenient code enforcement system and have made significant amounts of money off of properties that are non-compliant and detract from the quality of life and home values of city residents who own and live in their home,” the mayor said.  “I will not tolerate such ignorance and lack of responsibility from these landlords who blatantly disregard local laws and have no respect for the City, our residents and even their own tenants to whom they rent.  Our new code enforcement office has made significant gains throughout the summer and we have identified the loopholes in the system. We will close the loopholes and start focusing on area landlords who have a constant habit of breaking laws.”

Mayor Barlow noted this will be the first of several code changes in the coming months to help the city crack down on dilapidated buildings and the code enforcement office will be focusing specifically in the city’s residential neighborhoods.

“It is about time somebody starts holding these landlords accountable and starts standing up for tenant rights and quality of life in our neighborhoods,” the mayor said. “Homeowners and city residents should not suffer from an irresponsible landlord who offers deplorable living conditions that negatively affect nearby home values all in their own effort to make a buck! This administration will not tolerate it.”

Mayor Barlow will pitch these changes to the Common Council at the next committee meeting on September 19 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.


  1. Instead of a 3 year permit why not go with a one year permit with the code enforcement inspecting each unit every year. That is the right way to do rental units. Then this should cut down on the slums that seem to be renting out by some landlords.

  2. Applause to Mayor Barlow and his bold reformation of an abused system. Most politicians do absolutely nothing for fear of the next rung on the political ladder. Perhaps that’s why our governments at all levels are in the shape their in. This young leader is demonstrating that change is indeed possible and has illustrated through action that working collaboratively and deliberately for the good of the people is actually possible. The kid gets it! The council gets it! Oswego is getting better.

  3. It’s about time but lets see if it really happens,and make them provide parking for them. Lets keep the ball rolling Mr. Mayor.

  4. Nice…now if he can get that water/sewer thing a bit more tolerable he’ll be a shoo-in for the next election be it mayor or some other political aspiration; we’ll see.

  5. It’s time to hold tenants accountable who trash and abuse the properties of landlords who are pressed to keep up with the damage bad tenants do. It’s gone on for years with no help for landlords who are good people supplying good places for tenants to live.

  6. Raising the fee will not make landlords a) maintain the buildings or b) treat tenants fairly…only regular ENFORCED inspections will do that. In the past, many landlords have been waived from these inspections (you know this is true, and you also know who they are), and were not held to the standards.

    And, what about the small landlords that take care of their dwellings, have only 1- 2 apartments TOTAL, and do the repairs, get tenants that are quiet and clean, and pay for garbage, snow removal and utilities; maintaining their buildings…???

    In the last five years the City of Oswego has made this senior citizen landlord have to take money out of retirement savings just to pay the bills CONTINUALLY imposed upon us due to those landlords that do not do what they are required to do. You are penalizing those that play by the rules for those that don’t, and as a citizen that is like making us all pay fines even when we have no infractions! ENFORCE those that don’t do that they are suppose to do, and maybe you won’t have to raise the fees! We pay for enforcement officials ALREADY in the City, right, with the employees already there??? Or if not, why don’t we have anyone to do CODE enforcement…get rid of the department and those employees, give work load to another department, take that work load from that second department, cutting employees, and now need to create a new department? What is going on and why is it costing the taxpayer more and more money after these supposed savings??? Saving money from the Fire Department layoffs should be covering this, I would think! How come it’s not?

    How about monitoring those with citations, rather than hitting ALL the rentals in the City? How much more can we pay when almost every single neighborhood has a For Sale sign on it, and the City has already increased taxes/and water/sewer fees by over 50 % in the last few years??? JUST the sewer and water increased rents by a hundred dollars for many places.

    Not everyone works at one of the higher paying employers, which the council seems to forget every time they want to balance a budget. JUST LIKE US, the CITY needs to live within it’s means, and figure out what high paying function can be cut, without asking for more and more and more money after it has been cut. What are we spending money on in City Hall that keeps going up and up while the rest of us workers living within City limits make less and less and pay more and more for that less and less in services?

    Have a full glass of an Oswego whine!
    Debbie Engelke
    Owner (foolishly) for the building that houses Time & Again Books & Tea, and home in Oswego, too

  7. Good – Start auditing those that receive HUD benefits illegally. I have a neighbor that has her boyfriend living with her and makes in excess of 70 K a year and they brag that they don’t have to pay rent because they use her income….. Disgusted! Yes, tried to turn them in and they didn’t really want to hear it.

  8. These new rules are another example of government overreach. Punish the bad landlords, there are already plenty of rules in place for that. With the drastic increase in permit fee we will now have less money to keep the properties up. Our private property rights are being eroded and non landlord citizens should be just as nervous as landlords. How can taxes go up 42% in recent years but yet there is still no money? First the firefighters, now landlords, whose next?

  9. Finally, a quiet night in the war zone. We finally have a glimmer of HOPE, that things might be changing. A huge thank you to the Oswego Police Dept., for shutting down the party house at 111 West Oneida Street, last night. This weekend party house is where hundreds of underage college get drunk every weekend and hold this neighborhood hostage. This has been going on for YEARS. The vandalism and sleepless night are overwhelming to say the least. The owner of this house (who I am told, is an ex-mayor and ex-police officer) has NEVER been held accountable, because it never stops, there seems to be a lot of “double standards” regarding this particular house. Also, a great big “thank you” to Mayor Barlow for caring about the taxpaying homeowners and for having the backbone for trying to make a difference and stop this abuse of landlords to this community and the horrible quality of life for the resident who have to live next to or around these college party houses.

  10. My landlord, Ontario realty, refuses to return my calls, and my 3000 dollars in security deposits and the month and a half the apartment was uninhabitable as deemed by Oswego code enforcement. He has not remedied any of the Teo pages of violations, yet has lured another tenant in, one with a going daughter. We’re trying to shut him down, but I want my deposits back! He did this routinely. I find out!

  11. For us that rent to the older crowds in Oswego this will force a $10 a month increase and most of my tenants are on fixed income. Attack the ones that rent to the college student they are the problems,

  12. Completely obsurd. Just bought a fixer upper to return to Oswego and all I hear about is increases in taxes and fees. And the big kicker is that I am not even in the state of New York until I retire. I am astonished that a Republican heavy council would provide WIFI to stores then raise taxes 2 percent.

    I see that the Oswego I left to defend OUR country for 23 years is in ruins. Its time to make a REAL change. Get rid of the slums and you get rid of some of the drug issues hitting Oswego.

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