Skoufis Issues Final Code Enforcement Report

ALBANY – The State Senate’s investigation into code enforcement practices has been released finding a systemic failure to prioritize code enforcement at all levels of government.

The six-month study conducted by the Senate Committee on Investigations and Government Investigations headed by James Skoufis (D, Woodbury) and Senator Brian Kavanagh, chairman of the Committee on Housing, Construction and Community Development, closely examined the cities of Newburgh, Mount Vernon and Albany and the Town of Ramapo.

Key findings include:
* Inadequate training for code enforcement personnel;
* Inadequate record keeping for tracking code cases;
* Insufficient penalties for violations;
* Difficulties associated with properties owned by LLCs;
* Persistent vacant and abandoned buildings;
* An upsurge in illegally converted properties;
* Excessive delays and adjournments of cases; and
* An overall lack of resources and support available to assist code enforcement programs;
Legislative recommendations include:
* Provision of financial assistance to local governments;
* Fulfillment of Code Council vacancies;
* Department of State reforms;
* Minimum statewide penalties for violations;
* Cracking down on illegal housing;
* Adequate remedies for noncompliance;
* Limited liability company (LLC) disclosure and accountability;
* Strengthening minimum standards of code enforcement personnel;
* Rental property registries;
* Vacant and abandoned building reforms; and
* County government intervention

“Code enforcement is an issue that touches every single person in our state,” Skoufis said. “It is not overly dire to say that more first responders and more residents will perish from dangerous conditions if code enforcement is not better prioritized in New York State. We can do a lot better and I’m hopeful this report will shine a light on state and municipal shortcomings, compel more comprehensive enforcement, and inform legislation that will drastically improve the lives of all New Yorkers.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email