Code Enforcement

Safe, Livable, and Sanitary Homes

Under the Albany Renters’ Bill of Rights, tenants have the right to live in housing that is free from code violations and meets basic standards of living. To learn more about code issues, scroll down to the "Code Education" Section at the bottom of this page.

Residential Occupancy Permits

Every rental property in Albany is required to have a document called a “Residential Occupancy Permit” (ROP). Click here to learn more about ROP's. 

Building Permits

To keep both tenants and landlords safe, serious repairs and renovations must be done by a licensed professional and with a City building permit. Some examples of work that would require a permit include: 

  • Electrical and plumbing work
  • HVAC repairs
  • Hot water heater or furnace repairs
  • Removing walls or adding on rooms

Making a Housing Complaint

You have a right to bring up any maintenance issues at your apartment with your landlord. It is a good idea to submit this request in writing and to keep a copy of any communication about the violation(s).

Filing a Complaint

If your landlord does not address the problem, you have the right to make a code complaint to the City of Albany by calling (518) 434-4995 or by email. Click here to visit the website of the Department of Buildings & Regulatory Compliance. 

You will need to provide the following information when making a code complaint:

  • Your name
  • Your phone number
  • Your address and unit number
  • A date and time that is convenient for an inspector to visit your unit

The Code Enforcement Process

  1. A tenant makes a housing complaint. 
  2. An inspection is scheduled. Be sure that you will be home to let the inspector in!
  3. An inspector is assigned to the case. 
  4. If there are violations present during the inspection, Codes will send your landlord a letter called a “Notice of Violation.” This letter informs the landlord about the code problems.
  5. Landlords are given a certain amount of time (usually 35 days) to fix the violations. 
  6. If no progress is made after 35 days, the landlord will receive a Final Notice of Violation.
  7. If the landlord continues to ignore the repairs, they can be taken to court by the City of Albany. 

If you have an emergency code issue outside of normal business hours, call the Albany Police Department at 518-438-4000. In an emergency, APD will notify the on-call inspector. A City Code Inspector is always on call for emergencies, 24/7. 

Remember! If the emergency is life-threatening, call 911

Unsafe/Unfit Orders

If the code violations in your unit are very severe, the City may issue an Unsafe/Unfit Order. This means the building is too dangerous for people to live in. 

Examples of conditions that can lead to an Unsafe/Unfit Order include:

  • Shut-off or missing water, gas, electricity, or heat utilities
  • Extreme infestations
  • Structural defects
  • Sewage backups or flooding
  • Fire damage

Don't be afraid to call. If your unit receives an Unsafe/Unfit Order, the City of Albany can help connect you to temporary lodging and other resources.

Landlord Retaliation

Your landlord should never take any actions to "punish" you for making a housing complaint or for using your rights as a renter. This is also known as retaliation

Examples of Retaliation:

  • Harassment, intimidation, or threats – these can be verbal or physical
  • Filing an eviction against you without a valid reason
  • Refusing to renew your lease without a valid reason
  • Extreme rent increases or attempting to charge you additional fees

 If you think you are experiencing retaliation, you can contact: 

  • United Tenants of Albany: (518) 436-8997
  • Legal Aid Society of Northeastern NY: (833) 628-0087

Code Education

What Code Violations Should I Look Out For?

Electrical System Hazards

  • Missing outlet or light switch covers
  • Dangling, loose, or exposed wires
  • Light fixtures or outlets don’t work
  • Missing light bulbs 
  • Sparking outlets, fixtures, or wires
  • Unit is not connected to electricity
  • Too many extension cords

Fire Protection Systems

  • Missing or defective smoke detectors
    • Required in each bedroom
    • At least one on each floor
  • Missing or defective carbon monoxide detectors

Heat & Ventilation

  • Heat does not work properly
  • Landlord will not turn on heating
  • Little or no ventilation in bathrooms or laundry areas
  • Rusted or unsanitary ducts

Pest Infestations

  • Signs of insect infestation
    • Insect droppings or shells
    • Dead or living bugs
    • Unusual smells or sounds
    • Damage to furniture or fabric
    • Holes in food packaging
    • Electrical damage
  • Signs of rodent infestation
    • Rodent droppings or hair
    • Dead or living rodents
    • Unusual smells or sounds
    • Damage to furniture or fabric
    • Scratch marks or smudges on walls
    • Electrical damage
    • Rodent nests

Plumbing Systems & Fixtures

  • Clogged sinks, bathtubs, or toilets
  • Leaky faucets or pipes
  • Pipes connected incorrectly
  • Improper plumbing materials
  • Unit is not connected to water
  • Hot water heater is missing, defective, or unsafe
  • Sink is missing or damaged
  • Toilet is missing, damaged, or doesn't flush 

Moisture, Mold, and Mildew

  • Unit has accumulation of moisture, which can lead to mold or mildew

Interior Surfaces

  • Peeling, chipping, or flaking paint
  • Peeling, chipping, or flaking ceiling
  • Water or smoke damage
  • Unsanitary conditions on walls, ceilings, or floors
  • Soaked or unsanitary carpeting

Roofs & Drainage

  • Roof is missing shingles or tiles
  • Ceiling is leaking
  • Ceilings are water-damaged

Structural Issues

  • Large cracks in walls or ceilings
  • Missing or broken steps/stairs
  • Outdoor walls crumbling
  • Debris or items falling off structure

Mechanical and Appliances

  • Included appliances do not operate correctly or are unsafe
  • InFurnace or boiler is missing, defective, or unsafe
  • Dryer (if included in unit) is not properly vented

Doors & Windows

  • Broken or cracked windows
  • Ripped or missing insect screens
  • Windows that do not open
  • Nailed/painted shut, jammed, etc.
  • Doors or windows that do not shut
  • Doors or windows that do not lock
  • Loose or missing doorknobs
  • Each bedroom must have at least two exits in case of emergency (often a door and a window)

Outdoor Areas

  • Cracked or uneven sidewalks or driveways
  • Large holes in sidewalks / driveways
  • Overgrown, unkempt yards
  • Snow and ice accumulation on sidewalks

Miscellaneous

  • Missing handrails on stairways or porches
  • Dilapidated accessory structures - fences, garages, etc.
  • Accumulation of trash or other nuisance materials
  • Whether inside or outside of the residence
  • Missing house/unit numbers - should be visible from the street