FULTON, NY – The Fulton Common Council targeted landlords with amendment to city charter.
An amendment of Subsection C152(J) of the City Charter entitled Housing maintenance; rental permits added stricter regulations and fines for landlords.
Under new law, 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.
Any landlord that does not live within the city will be required to designate a property manager residing within 25 miles. Each month that a property manager remains undesignated, landlords will accrue a $200 fine.
Landlords that are not compliant or accessible will continue to be fined until which time their rental permits will be revoked requiring tenant occupied properties to be vacated.
The changes were modeled largely off of Oswego’s success in imposing stricter regulations for landlords after a Supreme Court ruling in a case against a landlord ruled in the city’s favor, Fulton Mayor Ronald Woodward Sr. said.
Council president Donald Patrick Jr. said such changes are just “the tip of the iceberg” in the council’s efforts to continue updating city code and charter.
“There’s going to be a lot more as far as codes and charter is concerned,” Patrick said. “A lot of it is outdated and doesn’t fit our needs, so we’re going to fine tune it.”
Oswego County legislator representing a portion of Fulton, Frank Castiglia Jr. was in favor of the crackdown on Fulton landlords, but feels more can be done.
“The code changes are good, but I don’t think they’ve gone far enough,” Castiglia said.
He would like to see a point system implemented for recurring police presence at rental properties. When a property reaches a certain point value, a fine will be implemented to the landlord.
“I think that’s the next avenue for the city of Fulton, we’re starting to clean this city up,” Castiglia said.
Patrick intends to investigate into the point system for recurring police visits that “tie up the city’s police force,” hoping the possibility of accruing fines will encourage landlords to be more careful during tenant selection.
Fifth ward councilor Dennis Merlino said code enforcement intends to be the “term of the year.”
“We are going to keep pushing codes and pushing codes, bringing our neighborhoods up,” he said.
Sixth ward councilor Lawrence Macner said targeting the city’s “slumlords” is another step in ongoing efforts to clean up the city.
“It’s a small percentage of people that will really be affected. Good landlords and homeowners have been happy in response to the change,” council president Donald Patrick Jr. said.