Table of Contents
1. Where to Start: SeeClickFix and Search Albany
Can I report a non-emergency City issue such as a pothole or an overgrown lot without making a phone call?
You can. SeeClickFix is a free and user-friendly mobile app and web tool that allows people to report and track quality-of-life issues and get things fixed where they live or work. Constituents can use it to report non-emergency neighborhood issues such as graffiti, potholes, damaged trees, illegal parking, vacant buildings, and illegal trash. With SeeClickFix, people can map the location of an issue, add video or photos, and include comments. City of Albany staff monitors issues, responds to posts, and addresses problems. The communication between constituents and staff is direct, transparent and trackable. SeeClickFix users can monitor their issue or issues in a specific neighborhood with the neighborhood watch feature from the time they are reported until they are addressed. To use the app, go to SeeClickFix or download the SeeClickFix app on your smartphone iPhone or Android.
Is there a convenient online tool where I can learn about my neighborhood?
There is. Search Albany is a powerful resource to get information about your property and neighborhood. It's an interactive online map that includes web links and data to make it easier to access property information, explore local government, collaborate with partners, and connect with community assets. Search Albany, also known as MapGeo, allows you to click on your property to find out your trash pickup day, access your tax bill, and find the value of your home as well as find contact information for your Common Council Member and Police Neighborhood Engagement Officer. By clicking on the Themes buttons, you can find out more about cultural resources as well as locate historic districts, nearby green space, zoning boundaries, neighborhood associations, and more. As a Google-based map, it also helps you to visualize your neighborhood with a street view, get driving directions, click on bus stops for schedules, and create custom maps to share with others.
2. Property Maintenance, Including Trash and Recycling
(For more detail, see DGS's new information portal: www.AlbanyNeighborhoods.com)
How must I maintain my property?
All properties and buildings must be kept free of conditions that are unsightly or unsafe. Each property owner is required to maintain their property to the curb or street, keeping sidewalks and planting strips free of weeds, debris and obstructions. If you are concerned about a property, or an empty lot is overgrown, or there is an accumulation of weeds, trash, debris, junk or animal feces, use SeeClickFix or call the Department of General Services at (518) 434-CITY (2489). If the debris is not considered a health or safety hazard, property owners will be posted and will have five days to clean it up. If the debris is considered a hazard, DGS will clean it up and bill the property owners. For these other public nuisance conditions, contact the Department of Buildings & Regulatory Compliance at (518) 434-5995: • Buildings without proper permits, which must be displayed in windows • Dilapidated signs or structures, including sheds, garages and fences • Signs advertising a business that is no longer there • Major vehicle repair activity, including auto body work, in residential areas • Overcrowding of homes or apartments or illegal units in a home • Construction or power equipment noise before 7 a.m. or after 10 p.m. • Vehicles stored on property planting strips and in alleys instead of in residents’ off-street parking areas; if vehicles are stored on streets, contact the Albany Parking Authority (CustomerService@ParkAlbany.com /(518) 434-8886) Where do I report graffiti? Graffiti can be reported through SeeClickFix or DGS at (518) 434-CITY (2489). Where do I report a vacant building? Reporting vacant buildings and their condition in a timely manner is important in preventing properties from deteriorating, which hurts a property and a neighborhood. Report vacant buildings to Sam Wells, the City of Albany Neighborhood Stabilization Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (518) 694-4813 so the City can keep an accurate count of them and pursue issues and policies to decrease their numbers. Report code violations, such as a broken window or staircase, or a hole in a siding or roof, to SeeClickFix or the Department of Buildings & Regulatory Compliance at email@example.com or (518) 434-5995. If the vacant property is overgrown or has a sidewalk that has not been cleared of snow, contact the Department of General Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or (518) 434-CITY (2489). If it is clear a vacant building is owned by the Albany County Land Bank (their sign will be on the building), report any code issues, complaints, or interest in purchasing the property to the Land Bank at email@example.com or (518) 407-0309. What are the rules around trash pickup? Albany’s Department of General Services collects trash weekly, including holidays, from residential dwellings with four or fewer units. All others, including mixed-occupancy buildings, must contract for private collection. Trash should be placed curbside between 4:30 p.m. and midnight the day prior to pickup. Excessive quantities of trash are subject to a bill and a fine. Large household items such as furniture, mattresses and toilets may be placed at the curb in limited quantities. The same is true of a small number of trash bags. If you are placing such items curbside, please notify DGS at (518) 434-CITY (2489) during normal business hours at least 24 hours prior to your collection day. Do I have to separate my recyclables? Residents can put all their recyclables in a single-stream recycling cart or bin that is provided for free by the City. Recyclables are picked up once a week on the same day that trash is picked up. DGS also sponsors paper shredding and book recycling events two times a year. Check albanynyrecycles.com for dates and details. What should I do with my yard waste, such as branches, grass and leaves? From spring to fall, Albany residents can place their yard waste curbside in compostable bags. Branches up to four feet long can be placed curbside, but they must be bundled and tied. Albany turns this yard waste in to compost, mulch and woodchips, which are free to Albany residents for use in landscaping or home gardens. For more information, visit albanynyrecycles.com. What do I do with hazardous waste or electronics? New York State law forbids residents from disposing electronics or hazardous waste in the trash, curbside or in landfills. These include phones, computers, game consoles, TVs, motor oil, light bulbs, batteries, cleaning products, paints, pesticides, and more (for a complete list, visit albanynyrecycles.com). Electronics and hazardous waste can also be disposed at hazardous waste and electronics drop-off events throughout the year at the Rapp Road Landfill. To participate in these drop-off events, you must pre-register online by visiting albanyrecycles.com or by calling DGS at (518) 434-CITY (2489). Electronics can also be dropped off at DGS at 1 Richard J. Conners Blvd. Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
4. Tenants’ And Landlords’ Rights and Responsibilities If tenants have questions about their situation, they should contact the United Tenants of Albany (255 Orange St./Albany, NY 12206/Housing Hotline - (518) 436-8997 extension 3, or firstname.lastname@example.org). The Legal Aid Society may also be able to help: 95 Central Avenue/Albany, New York 12206 or (518) 462-6765. 8 Should I get renters insurance? We highly recommend it. A landlord’s insurance only covers them and their property, not you and your property. Renters insurance works much the same way homeowners insurance does, except it’s tailored to renters. It usually covers: • Personal possessions, such as clothes, furniture, electronics, etc. • Personal liability, in case you are held legally responsible for property damage or an injury • Medical payments if someone (other than a resident) gets hurt in an accident at your apartment • Temporary living expenses if your place is damaged and becomes uninhabitable What is a residential occupancy permit? A residential occupancy permit (ROP) makes sure an apartment is clean and safe. According to City Code, landlords must obtain an ROP and register each of their rental dwelling units on the City of Albany Rental Dwelling Registry. In order to obtain an ROP, the unit must pass an inspection by a City Code Enforcement Officer. As a landlord, how do I make sure I can get an ROP? To pass an inspection, the rental dwelling unit must be in compliance with the NYS Uniform Building Code and the Code of the City of Albany. When making inspections, inspectors usually refer to the Code Enforcement Handbook. The Handbook outlines what will need to be repaired or added to a rental in order to pass an ROP inspection. The most common rental housing violations are: • Defective electrical outlets • Lack of water, including hot water • Lack of adequate heat or ventilation • Infestations, including bedbugs, roaches or rodents • Landlords not making required maintenance repairs • Renters abusing the property with graffiti or through gang activity • Accumulation of moisture or mildew • Overcrowded homes and apartments • Rental properties with poorly maintained yards and landscaping Tenants and landlords who feel that their housing is not meeting minimum standards should attempt to resolve disputes themselves. If this is unsuccessful, either party may report suspected code violations to the Department of Buildings & Regulatory Compliance at email@example.com or (518) 434-5995.
For a listing of all City of Albany Departments visit albanyny.gov/Government/Departments (City of Albany offices are generally open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.) For a City of Albany Staff Directory visit albanyny.gov/Government/AlbanyNewYorkCityDirectory Interested in funds to buy or renovate a home or apartments? Albany Community Development Agency (ACDA) 200 Henry Johnson Boulevard, 2nd floor firstname.lastname@example.org (518) 434-5265 www.albanyny.gov Want to access health services, find help for seniors or vets, get family assistance, or access services in an emergency? Albany County Harold L. Joyce Albany County Office Building 112 State Street, Room 1200 (518) 447-7000 albanycounty.com Want to buy an abandoned building? Albany County Land Bank 69 State Street, 8th floor email@example.com (518) 407-0309 albanycountylandbank.org Want to find out about public parking garages, public lots, and metered parking? Albany Parking Authority (APA) 25 Orange St. CustomerService@ParkAlbany.com (518) 434-8886 parkalbany.com Interested in how Albany Public Library can empower and enrich your life? Albany Public Library 7 Branches (518) 427-4300 albanypubliclibrary.org 15 Need a building permit or want to report a code violation? Department of Buildings & Regulatory Compliance 200 Henry Johnson Boulevard, Suite 1 firstname.lastname@example.org (518) 434-5995 www.albanyny.gov Where do I report vacant building issues? Sam Wells, City of Albany Neighborhood Stabilization Coordinator (for reporting a vacant building) email@example.com (518) 694-4813 Department of Buildings & Regulatory Compliance (for reporting building code violations) firstname.lastname@example.org (518) 434-5995 www.albanyny.gov Department of General Services (for overgrowth or sidewalk snow removal) email@example.com (518) 434-CITY (2489) Albany County Land Bank (if ACLB owns it) 69 State St. firstname.lastname@example.org (518) 407-0309 albanycountylandbank.org Interested in commercial development or starting or expanding a business? Capitalize Albany Corporation 21 Lodge Street email@example.com (518) 434-2532 CapitalizeAlbany.com Want to learn about or volunteer for cultural events put on by the City? Office of Cultural Affairs City Hall, 24 Eagle Street, Room 402 firstname.lastname@example.org (518) 434-2032 www.albanyny.gov Need to report a fire or a medical emergency? Albany Fire Department & EMS 911 (emergency) or (518) 438-4000 (dispatcher, non-emergency) or (518) 447-7879 (headquarters) www.albanyny.gov 16 Need a marriage or dog license? Want to FOIL a government document or public record? Want to hold an event in a public space, such as in a park or on the street? Office of the City Clerk City Hall, 24 Eagle Street, Room 202 email@example.com (518) 434-5090 www.albanyny.gov Does your issue involve park maintenance, trees, graffiti, trash, recycling, potholes; street paving, cleaning, or plowing; sidewalk snow & ice removal; leaf bags, or compost pickup? Department of General Services (DGS) 1 Richard J. Conners Blvd. firstname.lastname@example.org (518) 434-CITY (2489) www.albanyny.gov Want to apply for a City of Albany job or take a Civil Service exam? Human Resources City Hall, 24 Eagle St., Room 301 email@example.com (518) 434-5049 www.albanyny.gov jobs.albanyny.gov/jobopps Do you have a claim to file with the City of Albany? Law Office City Hall, 24 Eagle Street, Room 106 (518) 434-5050 www.albanyny.gov Who do I call if I need legal help, but I don’t have the money to pay for it? The Legal Aid Society 95 Central Avenue/Albany, New York 12206 (518) 462-6765 lasnny.org The Legal Project 24 Aviation Rd., Suite 101 Albany, NY 12208 (518) 435-1770 https://legalproject.org/ Want to invite the Mayor to come to an event? Mayor’s Office City Hall, 24 Eagle St., Room 102 firstname.lastname@example.org (518) 434-5100 www.albanyny.gov