After filing a Freedom of Information request, YNN received 40 pages of violations for the properties at 1315 and 1317 North Salina Street. In the first part of a three part series, YNN's Katie Gibas tells us if the code violations have any enforcement to prevent another tragedy, after two people died in a fire at the same address.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- As early as June 2007, city inspectors said 1315 and 1317 North Salina Street were unfit for human occupancy. Violations included missing windows, plumbing and electrical problems, and insect and rodent infestations.
"Unfit is something that lacks such basic services that it is unfit. And in most cases, we're talking about the lack of basics. A lack of water, a lack of electricity, a lack of heat," said Sharon Sherman, the Executive Director of the Greater Syracuse Tenants Network. "Infestation is not under the law necessarily, it does not create an unfit situation. Although, the city has begun to take action in cases where there are bed bugs and after repeated attempts to get the landlord to deal with it, they have begun, in some cases, to declare it unfit."
From 2007 to April 2013 after a fatal fire at the address, there have been more than 100 violations. Now, there are still 27 violations that remain open.
In a June interview, Corey Driscoll, the Former Syracuse Code Enforcement Director said, "Certainly 37 open violations is significant. And it reflects, as the violations reflect, the owner slowly stopped correcting the violations, stopped paying taxes, was kind of withdrawing from the situation as far as responsibility."
The state of this building is not an uncommon theme in Syracuse.
"We have a tremendous amount of substandard housing in the city of Syracuse. It's an overwhelming problem. I believe the city's code enforcement and this administration have made great strides forward, but there's still not enough resources to deal with all the situations," said Sherman. "The housing is older. It costs more to upkeep these houses. And the rents that these landlords can charge are lower because of the nature of the neighborhood, so it's an endless cycle of struggle."
The Syracuse Department of Codes thought the violations were severe enough to refer to the city's law department. However, the violations never went to court.