E-Renter Tenant Screening News

Absentee Landlords Banned in Upstate New York Town

Absentee landlords sometimes get a bad rap. While many out-of-town rental property investors take care of their properties, properly screen prospective tenants and make frequent inspection visits, others don’t. They’re often cited for code violations by the cities where their rentals are located, or accused of having “dilapidated” or “run-down” rental properties.

One city in upstate New York is attempting to solve the problems caused by some absentee landlords with a new law. Property owners in Oswego, NY must have a local contact that the city can hold liable for any code violation. As things stand now, when there are code violations on properties owned by out-of-towners, the city can’t take action. “We can’t get the owners into court because we can’t serve them papers,” said one city councilor, who lives next door to a run-down rental property owned by an investor in Virginia. The landlord admitted she had never been to Oswego.

Some are opposed to the new law, out of concern that landlords will require their tenants to be the accountable party—which may not be the best way to solve the problem.

The law, which goes into effect August 31, requires the property owner or contact to live within a 25-mile radius of Oswego. Existing rental property owners are grandfathered until it’s time to renew their permits, after three years.

What do you think of Oswego, NY’s new absentee landlord law?

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