© 2022 WRVO Public Media
Your Source for NPR News
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Politics and Government

Syracuse code enforcement campaign growing

Ellen Abbott
City of Syracuse code officers take residents on tours of houses to explain code violations.

The city of Syracuse is expanding a program meant to improve compliance with housing codes.

The Tenant-Owner-Proactive (TOP) program started last fall on the city’s northside. It makes the code inspection system more proactive. Code inspectors establish relationships with tenants and landlords before code violations get too bad, and the city is forced to take legal action.

"We’re shocked by the numbers we’re seeing with owner compliance without sending out violation letters," said Ken Towsley, head of code enforcement.

Towsley says the success means the program will expand in the coming months to a couple of neighborhoods on the city’s southside, and ultimately, the entire city.

"Eventually our goal is to have 21 separate geographic areas in the city where an inspector is responsible for that area," Towsley said. 

Towsley also expects more compliance from landlords when the city’s new Code Violations Bureau goes live later this year. He says that will create a quicker adjudication process than having disputes go through the court system.