It is important that all community members are aware of and follow all federal, state, and local laws and ordinances. The below information provides a highlighted overview. The following are some resources for complete and updated information: City of Syracuse Special Inspections webpage, the City of Syracuse Rental Registry webpage, the City of Syracuse Code of Ordinances webpage and the City of Syracuse Parking FAQ’s webpage. For additional information or questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Off-Campus Student Living team.

Off-Campus Regulations

City of Syracuse Codes, Ordinances and Requirements

Rental properties need to be rented in a manner that is consistent with the legal number of dwelling units in the property.

Dwelling Unit

A "dwelling unit" refers to a residential unit that is intended for use by a single family. When rented as individuals and not together as a family the following requirements apply.

  • No more than five unrelated persons over the age of 18 are allowed to share a dwelling unit.
  • They must occupy the dwelling unit as a single housekeeping unit.
  • If a dwelling unit is not rented appropriately, as a single housekeeping unit, it may be functioning as a rooming or boarding house. These types of properties are generally prohibited in City of Syracuse residential zones.

Single Housekeeping Unit

Tenants must share the entire dwelling as a "single housekeeping unit" for living, cooking, eating and sleeping. This means all residents must have access to the entire dwelling in the way that members of a family would, in addition to:

  • cooking equipment is not allowed in bedrooms;
  • exterior locks are not allowed on bedroom doors;
  • bedrooms cannot be leased individually;
  • spaces intended for the enjoyment of all occupants, such as living rooms, dining rooms and porches, cannot be converted into bedrooms.

Legally Habitable Rented Space

All rented space must be legally habitable. Landlords and property managers may not rent spaces such as attics, porches or basements without required permits, certifications, inspections or other required approvals to convert the rented space into a legally habitable space. The City of Syracuse generally requires two separate stairways between an attic rental space and the first floor or a fire escape. Renting of such spaces without approval is dangerous and may subject the property owner to potential litigation from tenants in addition to enforcement actions from the City of Syracuse.

Fire Protection

One and two-family dwelling units are required to have working smoke detectors in sleeping and common areas. These detectors are to be tested annually by the owner/landlord.


For one and two-family dwellings, a parking space is generally required for each dwelling unit. Parking on the grass is prohibited.

  • Certificates of Suitability: Generally, a Certificate of Suitability is required before any certificate or building permit will be issued by the City of Syracuse Division of Code Enforcement for non-owner-occupied residential properties. This is to ensure construction and use is appropriate for the area within the city the property is to be located.
  • Rental Registry Certificate: It is illegal to rent non-owner-occupied one and two-family dwellings without a valid Rental Registry Certificate on file with the City of Syracuse. Tenants should ask to see a valid Rental Registry Certification from potential property managers/landlords prior to signing a lease.
  • Certificates of Compliance: Properties that contain three or more family dwelling units, and buildings that combine residential and commercial tenants, must have a valid Certificate of Compliance on file with the City of Syracuse. Tenants should ask to see a valid Certificate of Compliance from potential property managers/landlords prior to signing a lease.

  • Accumulating Garbage, Littering, Dumping: It is prohibited for owners or tenants to deposit, accumulate, collect or allow the following to be deposited, accumulated or collected on their property: garbage, rubbish, waste mater, filth or any similar substance. Littering or dumping on any public property, public right of way or private property is prohibited.
  • Grills, Barbecues: Per New York State, open flame cooking sources (including charcoal and gas grills) may not be used on combustible balconies or within 10 feet of combustible construction, with exceptions for one and two-family dwellings. Additional fire safety precautions include moving grills 20 feet from your home and other combustible construction.
  • Noise: The City of Syracuse’s Noise Ordinance covers a variety of issues resulting in unnecessary noise. This includes loudspeakers, public address systems and sound reproduction (e.g., instruments, speakers, television, amplifiers, squealing tires, etc.). A general rule to follow is that noise that crosses property lines is prohibited. Learn more here.
  • Nuisance Party: A nuisance party is a social gathering on either public or private property where one or more of the following behaviors occur: disorderly conduct; unlawful possession of an open container; outdoor urination or defecation in a public space; unlawful sale, furnishing, dispensing or consumption of an alcoholic beverage; sale or furnishing an alcohol beverage to an underage person; possession or consumption of an alcoholic beverage by an underage person; unlawful possession, sale or use of a controlled substance; unlawful deposit of litter or refuse; damage to or destruction of property without the consent of the property owner; unlawful pedestrian or vehicular traffic; standing or parking of vehicles that obstructs the free flow of traffic on public streets and sidewalks or that impedes the ability to render emergency services; or unlawful loud noise.
  • Open Containers: Open containers of alcoholic beverages on city streets and sidewalks is prohibited. Any alcohol on city streets and sidewalks must be in the manufacturer's sealed container and only be in possession of someone 21 years of age or older.
  • Parking: Parking on city streets has its own unique challenges and requirements for tenants. Please see City of Syracuse Parking FAQ’s webpage for more detailed information.
  • Pets: The City of Syracuse requires your pet to be on a leash unless fenced in on your property, and that you clean up after your pet. Learn more on the City of Syracuse Pets/Animals webpage and visit the City Clerk Licenses webpage to register a dog.


Available for free in the Apple App StoreGoogle Play Store and as a web portal, SYRCityline allows users to complete service requests and report concerns including but not limited to street lights, traffic signals, excessive yard waste and more.

City of Syracuse Contact Information

City ResourceContact Information
Syracuse Police Department315.442.5200 (non-emergency) / 911 (emergency)
City of Syracuse City Clerk Office315.448.8216
City of Syracuse Dog License RegistrationLearn more here!
City of Syracuse Code Enforcement Division315.448.8695
City of Syracuse Parking Violations Bureau315.479.5300
Pay Parking TicketsMake an online payment here!
City of Syracuse Department of Parks, Recreation, and Youth Programs315.428.8513
City of Syracuse Codes and OrdinancesLearn more here!

Renting and Lease Responsibilities

As a legal arrangement made effective at time of signing, the lease outlines the tenant and landlord responsibilities. It is important to review the lease in detail prior to signing, as it will include everything expected of the tenant and details what the landlord will provide. Students may also wish to have the lease reviewed by an attorney and undergraduate students have access to Student Legal Services as part of their Student Fee.

As a legal document, it is recommended students keep a signed copy of the lease for their own records and explore the highlights below. For additional information or questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Off-Campus Student Living team.

Tenant Responsibilities

  • Review the lease for all expectations for which you are responsible. If you have difficulty understanding any of the parts to your lease, it is recommended that you contact an attorney to assist.
  • A lease may require a co-signor/guarantor. This is someone who is willing to co-sign the lease or guarantee that should the tenant not be able to pay the rent, they are willing to do so.
  • Confirm the lease dates, outlining when you are permitted to move in and when you must move out.
  • By video or photograph, prior to moving in and after you’ve moved out, always document the condition of all aspects of your rental unit. If anything is damaged or does not work upon move-in, ensure you have that captured and contact your landlord for repair. If you do not have evidence of prior damage when you move out, you may be charged for the damage after you vacate the property.
  • Work to keep the property clean and safe. Dispose of trash and recyclables regularly.
  • Be careful when moving furniture to not damage floors, walls or other surfaces.
  • As soon as you notice any repairs or maintenance needed, you are responsible for reporting it to your landlord. As needed repairs can cause damage to other areas of the property, it is important that you report concerns promptly.
  • Your lease may require you to notify your landlord:
    • if you will be away for an extended period to ensure utilities are set properly;
    • of your intended departure and/or decision to not renew your lease.
  • You have a right to privacy in your rental unit. However, your landlord may enter:
    • to make needed repairs;
    • to inspect the unit;
    • to supply necessary or agreed upon services;
    • upon providing reasonable notice and at a reasonable time to show the property to prospective tenants;
    • in case of an emergency without prior notice.

Landlord Responsibilities

  • The lease legally binds signing tenants and also the landlord to the terms contained within it. Review your lease for information that details what your landlord will provide.
  • New York State essentially requires residences to have carbon monoxide alarms installed and maintained by landlords.
  • Duty of Repair outlines that landlords are responsible for maintaining electrical and plumbing systems in the dwelling unit, repairing any peeling lead-based paint, maintaining the unit and any supplied equipment (e.g., refrigerators, stoves, ovens, etc.).
  • Residential buildings in the City of Syracuse must maintain a temperature of no less than 68 degrees Fahrenheit between September 15 and May 31, whenever the outside temperature falls below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Landlords are required to take reasonable precautions against foreseeable harms that may occur on their property.
  • Landlords are required to install and maintain operable smoke alarms in all rental units throughout New York State.

Subleasing occurs when a tenant rents the unit to a third party (subtenant). When signing a sublease, the subtenant becomes responsible to the tenant for performing all obligations set forth in the sublease agreement, and the tenant for performing all obligations set forth in the original lease agreement. Important notes include the following.

  • The sublease becomes an additional legal agreement between the original tenant and the subtenant, but it does not absolve the original tenant from the lease originally signed.
  • Original tenants who acquire subtenants remain legally responsible for all requirements and conditions in the original lease agreement; if the subtenant fails to pay rent, the original tenant remains responsible for the rent.
  • Not all lease agreements permit a sublease. Review the lease to learn if a sublease is an option or consult an attorney. Never attempt to draft the terms of a sublease yourself. Always work with an attorney to ensure that the terms and conditions are properly written.

  1. Check lease and confirm move-out requirements prior to departing. Requirements often include cleaning, removing trash and more. Charges will often result for damages and/or leaving rental units dirty.
  2. Start early and pack all belongings.
  3. Make arrangements if storing, shipping or donating belongings.
  4. If receiving assistance from friends or family, be sure to adhere to the Stay Safe Pledge for the latest policies and expectations from the University.
  5. Following moving out and prior to leaving, ensure to document condition of the rental unit by photo or video.
  6. As specified in lease, contact landlord and return key(s).


With a valid Syracuse University student identification card (SUID), students have a variety of free transportation opportunities on and around campus. Visit the following to learn more about routes, options, Centro services and more.

  • Off-campus Street Parking: The City of Syracuse utilizes odd/even parking in many locations throughout the city. It is important to understand the requirements of parking on specific sides of the road, at certain times of the day. Learn more on the City of Syracuse Parking FAQ’s webpage.
  • Prohibited Parking: For the safety of the community and to maintain visual appeal of properties, vehicles may not be parked in/on the following locations: sidewalks; between the sidewalk and the curb; blocking an entrance to a driveway; within 10 feet of a fire hydrant, on any lawn or bare ground. Learn more on the City of Syracuse Parking FAQ’s webpage.
  • On-campus Parking: Additional details are available on the Parking and Transportation Services website.