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Landlord/Tenant Relations

Landlord Responsibilities


In Syracuse, heat must be supplied from September 15 through June 15 at a temperature of not less than sixty-eight degrees Fahrenheit. Elsewhere in Onondaga County, state law requires that an apartment's temperature be at least sixty-eight degrees Fahrenheit from October 1 to May 31 whenever the outdoor temperature falls below fifty-five degrees Fahrenheit between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.


Landlords are required to take reasonable precautions to protect against foreseeable harms. This means that you must take personal responsibility for your own safety together with your landlord.

Duty of Repair

Landlords must keep common areas such as hallways and laundry facilities clean and safe. Landlords are responsible for maintaining electrical and plumbing systems within the unit.

Landlords are responsible for repairing any peeling lead-based paint. Finally, landlords are responsible for maintaining the unit and all supplied equipment, such as refrigerators, stoves, etc.

Getting Repairs Made

The most common problem for tenants is getting the landlord to fulfill his or her responsibility to make necessary repairs on the premises . If you are living with several people, identify a spokesperson for the group . When there are problems, have your spokesperson immediately contact the landlord and follow up in writing if necessary . Do not be afraid to keep calling if the problem is not resolved . Offer to do some of the repairs if your landlord will pay for the supplies . For example, if you want to repaint the living room, offer to paint it yourself if your landlord will purchase the painting supplies .

Click here for sample letter Requesting Repairs.

In New York State, a tenant cannot withhold rent from a landlord except under extraordinary circumstances (e .g . property becomes “dangerous to life, health, or safety of the tenant”) . Therefore, the City of Syracuse Division of Code Enforcement is probably the best resource if your landlord refuses to correct problem conditions in your apartment (e .g . getting your heat turned on) . The Housing Code establishes property maintenance standards and describes in detail the responsibility of owners and occupants of residential property located within the City of Syracuse . Copies of the code can be obtained from the City of Syracuse Division of Code Enforcement, 201 East Washington Street, Syracuse NY 13202 . If you have questions, contact the City of Syracuse Division of Code Enforcement at 315-448-8695.

Tenant Responsibilities

It is important for you to know your responsibilities as a tenant. If you are not familiar with your responsibilities, you may find yourself unintentionally breaking your lease agreement.

The Lease
You are responsible for reading the lease and agreeing to its terms. Once you sign the lease, you generally are held to its terms unless the terms are illegal.

Paying Rent
You are responsible for paying the rent on time. Remember that most leases require that each tenant is responsible for the entire amount of the rent. Therefore, if one of your roommates fails to pay the rent one month, you could be responsible for paying the entire rental amount for that month.

Care of Property
You and your roommates should work together with the landlord and neighbors to keep the property clean and safe. Keep the apartment clean and free of insects and rodents (e.g., dispose of your garbage and recycling properly). Remember that you are responsible for any damage done to the property by you or your guests.

Notice of Repairs
You are responsible for giving the landlord notice of any needed repairs or maintenance. This is especially important when the problem will cause additional damage unless it is promptly fixed. You should also contact your landlord upon the notice of insects or rodents in your apartment.

Right to Privacy
As a tenant, you have the right to privacy within your apartment. However, your landlord may enter your apartment to make necessary repairs, or to show the apartment to prospective tenants with reasonable prior notice and at a reasonable time. In case of an emergency, your landlord may enter your apartment without your consent