Oneida codes officer cites reasons for fee increase

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ONEIDA — Bob Burnett, director of Code Enforcement for the city of Oneida, said the increase in inspection fees for rental properties is necessary both because of the expense of the inspection but also as a mechanism to get compliance on deficiencies.

The Oneida Common Council approved the increase in early June, to the dismay of landlords. The fees went up to $150 per rental unit, which by state law are required to be inspected every three years.

The Codes Department will inspect two-family and multi-family buildings — but not single-family owner-occupied, two-family owner-occupied, or single-family rentals. The city of Oneida is required by the New York Codes Rules and Regulations to perform fire safety property maintenance inspections of all multi-dwelling properties and must adhere to FSPM requirements.

The city will give one free re-inspect. If the violation in question isn’t remedied after the free re-inspect, all follow-up reinspections will be $150 per unit.

Rental property owners have 30 days from the date of the order of remedy.

Burnett said the inspection fees were increased for several reasons. The chief among them was that the fees haven’t been raised in over a decade — but the cost of everything has gone up. The director added that inspection fee increases would help act as a tool in gaining compliance quicker. “This will allow us to be more efficient, which will give us more time to focus on cleaning up the city.”

Increased fees will also cover the cost of the inspector and the administrative costs. “There are multiple rental buildings that are bringing down neighborhoods,” Burnett said. “The Code Department will no longer tolerate owners that don’t want to upkeep their properties. Noncompliant properties bring down neighborhoods, hurt the resale value of neighboring properties, and attract crime.”

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