Massena village board seeks public feedback on forming landlord registry
BY JEFF CHUDZINSKI
North Country This Week
MASSENA — Village trustees have set a public hearing to solicit feedback from residents about a rental registry that would allow code enforcement to more easily contact landlords.
The public hearing is set for Oct. 17 at 5:30 p.m. in room 30 of Massena town hall.The topic of absentee and out of area landlords has been a hot button topic of late with village trustees, code enforcement and residents.
Many residents have raised concerns over vacant properties that have been inhabited by vagrants in recent months, while others say landlords from outside the area do little or nothing to keep up their properties.
As a result of the complaints and action from Code Enforcement Officer Aaron Hardy, trustees appear poised to create a registry of rental properties and landlords.
Hardy previously said that on many occasions his office has been unable to reach landlords with dilapidated and rundown properties that are in violation of village code.
As a result, legal action is delayed in some cases.
Hardy said it is his hope that a registry would allow his office to communicate more effectively with landlords in the future to avoid such issues.
If the registry were created, Hardy said it would make it easier for his office to have yearly communications with landlords. In the event of an emergency, the code office would also have a primary point of contact to handle such situations as well.
Hardy also told trustees that the fire department already carries out yearly inspections of businesses, through which his department has been able to gather a great deal of information including building owners, business owners and their contact information.
The registry, if created, will be kept at Massena Town Hall to “make things a lot easier and quicker.”
Trustee Ken McGowan has also been a proponent of the registry, saying it would also make it much safer for code enforcement and fire department members to conduct their jobs as well.
The move to create a registry would add more teeth to village code, allowing code enforcement to swiftly take action and address various concerns that have been raised in recent months. Such concerns were voiced about properties on Sycamore Street.
As a result, trustees took action to board up and secure a number of properties in the neighborhood.
Hardy said in those cases, the code enforcement department has reached out to landlords without any success.
“We’ve reached out to one owner multiple times and haven’t been able to make contact since the first week of COVID, so you’re talking about the first or second week of March 2020,” he told trustees previously.
Hardy said those properties are in desperate need of repair, with many having had water and power shut off to the buildings.
Despite this, vagrants have been known to inhabit the structures, he said.
Mayor Greg Paquin, another supporter of the registry, said it was time to take action and was happy to see code enforcement pushing forward with the initiative.
No fee will be assessed to landlords to be registered, officials say, though landlords will be expected to provide information about the structure including the layout and number of inhabitants in each space.