SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Yet another apartment complex in the city of Syracuse has been declared unfit by city code enforcement.
During a press conference on Thursday, March 2, Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh announced the Ballantyne Gardens Apartments on the city’s south side has been issued an unfit declaration.
Syracuse Code Enforcement issued an “Unfit for Human Habitation” declaration on Tuesday, February 28 for the common areas at Ballantyne Gardens Apartments.
Code Enforcement Director, Jake Dishaw, said the city’s involvement comes after receiving a notice from the management company of Ballantyne Gardens late last week that they were no longer responsible for managing the property.
During inspections, code enforcement employees issued five code violations for serious issues at the four-building complex located on South Salina Street at Ballantyne Road.
Two violations relate to unsanitary conditions of trash, debris and evidence of urine and blood in stairwells and common areas at the property. Three violations address a sewage back-up in a single building at the complex requiring repair, cleanup and sanitization.
The declaration, which came after the code inspections at the property, cited “danger posed by code violations… to health, safety and welfare” to tenants and the community.
According to the Division of Code Enforcement, there was trash all over the place, so the enforcement office hired the Environmental Services crews from the City Department of Public Works to pick up more than 14,000 pounds of trash and debris. The City has billed the property owner $1,620.20 for the cleanup.
It was also stated in the declaration that the property lacked other things regarding public health and safety including lacking, including “illumination, ventilation, sanitation, heat or other facilities adequate to protect the health and safety of the occupants or the public.” The structure was also stated to be, “damaged, decayed, dilapidated, unsanitary, unsafe or vermin-infested.”
Dishaw mentioned in the press conference that they “have not found evidence of drug use so that is not in the equation here.”
According to the Division of Code Enforcement, Ballantyne Garden Apt LLC, the building owner, did not respond to City inquiries after February 22. Despite the City cleanup, the property owner remains responsible for addressing the February 28 code violations by Friday, March 3.
Tenants are currently able to stay in their apartments because the action covers common area spaces at the complex. However, a stop rent order for public rents paid to the property owner has been triggered. Neighbors aren’t forced to pay rent until all violations are fixed.
Dishaw also that receivership and abatement are not off the table if needed, and similar actions, which were made at the Skyline apartments, could be taken if they get to that point.
Deputy Mayor Sharon Owens was also at the press conference Thursday and said she was very angry and frustrated because they don’t know what’s going on with property owners at Ballantyne.
“We have no tolerance for this. If you are a property owner in the City of Syracuse and your property houses individuals, you are responsible for ensuring that they’re living in a safe, healthy, and affordable location, and if you don’t we will use every means we have to come after you.”
She said they will use every tool needed, including receivership, if that’s what they need to do, encouraging tenants anywhere to call code enforcement at 315-448-8695, with issues as many times as needed.