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Mayor Barlow Announces Supreme Court Upholds City Code Enforcement

Oswego, NY - In another legal victory for the Barlow administration, the New York State Supreme Court recently denied a complaint filed by out-of-town landlords alleging that the City of Oswego’s code enforcement actions violated their constitutional rights.

Supreme Court Justice Norman W. Seiter, Jr. issued a four-page Decision and Judgment dated September 26, 2017, denying in all aspects a complaint filed by Marcel and Patricia Morrisseau, of Sterling, New York, and dismissing their claims with prejudice.

The landlords, who own multiple rental properties in the City of Oswego, were denied rental permits by the City of Oswego because they fell behind in paying their property taxes. The properties have also been the subject of multiple code violations and complaints from tenants and neighbors.

In his ruling, Judge Seiter determined that the Oswego City Code, “substantially advances legitimate governmental interests. Timely tax collection and enforcement promotes effective and reliable governmental administration.” The Court ruling went on to add the city ordinance “further operates to deter property owners from neglecting their responsibilities as landlords, thereby compromising the safety of City residents. The court finds that these legitimate governmental interests are advanced by the City Code at issue and as a result this court finds (the Code) to be constitutional.”

Mayor Barlow praised the court ruling. “This is an overwhelming affirmation of the hard work and effort put in by the Code Enforcement Department this past year, and I am very happy with this result,” stated Barlow. “Let this be a resounding message to any slumlords out there that the City of Oswego will no longer tolerate you taking advantage of our residents. We are cleaning up our neighborhoods, house by house, and your kind is not welcome anymore,” Barlow added. “We’ve worked hard to establish a code enforcement office and process that holds landlords accountable, and we’ve made it clear that this administration will do whatever it takes to make landlords obey the law, come into compliance, treat their tenants fairly and respect the surrounding neighbors. My administration will continue to apply pressure to City landlords in our pursuit to enhance the quality of life for all City residents,” Barlow concluded.

The recent court ruling is the second successful court ruling for the Barlow administration. Previously, the Supreme Court, Appellate Division sided with the City of Oswego over its ownership of the former Cahill building, clearing the way for further redevelopment as part of the City’s award-winning Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

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