How to Verify a Professional's License in Syracuse?
Before hiring a professional in the City of Syracuse, it is crucial to confirm whether the professional has satisfied any relevant citywide professional requirements, such as licensing requirements. Hiring professionals without confirming their compliance with citywide requirements and regulations exposes you to incompetent service delivery. Professionals in Syracuse are licensed and regulated by the city's Central Permit Office and the city's Division of Code Enforcement. While the Central Permit Office handles general professional and business licensure, the Division of Code Enforcement strictly licenses and regulates specific building and construction professionals across over 20 license, certification, and permit types. To verify a professional's licensing status, you can either contact the city's Central Permit Office at (315) 448-8600 or the city's Division of Code Enforcement at (315) 448-8695. If either of these agencies does not oversee the occupational category of the professional in question, you will be redirected to the appropriate agency.
Besides licensing requirements, specific professionals are required to adhere to additional regulatory stipulations. For example, construction contractors must apply for, and obtain, applicable building permits before handling any building project. The Syracuse Division of Code Enforcement issues these building permits through the city's Central Permit Office. For assistance and inquiries regarding the processes for obtaining a building permit, you can contact the Syracuse Code Enforcement Permit Desk at (315) 448-8600.
The neighborhoods in Syracuse City are grouped into five districts, and residents of each of these districts elect a district representative into the city's Common Council. You can explore the city's Common Council Map to find your district and your district's representative. The city's Common Council comprises the representatives of each district, four other at-large council members that are elected by city residents, and a Common Council President who is also elected by city residents. The Common Council is the legislative arm of the city and works with the City Mayor to develop policies and city laws.
The Syracuse Common Council primarily performs legislative functions, and as such, it does not issue construction or home improvement permits. However, the Common Council continues to develop policies and approve plans intended for the city's development. For example, in June 2021, the Common Council approved a law that places the responsibility for replacing, repairing, and maintaining city sidewalks on the city government. Prior to the approval of this law, sidewalk replacement, repair, and maintenance was the responsibility of homeowners. However, this law also introduced the payment of annual sidewalk fees for residents of the city. Also, in August 2021, the Common Council approved the allotment of $2 million for a citywide tree-planting project. This project is expected to run for three years.
The Bureau of Consumer Frauds & Protection (BCFP) of the Syracuse Regional Office of New York Attorney General Office receives and addresses consumer or unfair business complaints in the City of Syracuse. Residents of Syracuse can file their consumer or unfair business complaints with this Bureau online. However, residents are advised to first contact the business or professional they intend to complain against and try to reach an amicable settlement. For general inquiries or assistance with filing consumer complaints, residents can either contact the BCFP directly at (315) 448-4848 or contact the BCFP's consumer helpline at 1-800-771-7755.
When you file a consumer or unfair business complaint with the BCFP, the Bureau will review your complaint and consider addressing it through informal dispute resolution. This resolution process may involve meetings between you, mediating personnel of the BCPF, and the business or professional in question. If informal dispute resolution fails, you may proceed to sue the business or professional at the Syracuse City Small Claims Court. Be aware that this court only handles cases with a maximum claim of $5,000. While self-representation is allowed at the small claims court, it is recommended that you hire the services of a qualified attorney.
Finally, if the professional or business that you are complaining about is allegedly involved in any illegal practices, you should also consider contacting the Syracuse Police Department at (315) 442-5111 for inquiries on how to proceed with filing any criminal complaints.