City Leaders Launch New Legislation to Combat Vacant Home Crisis
April 28, 2023
Boarded-up windows, crumbling foundations and falling siding. That’s what some people see along parts of Hudson Avenue.
According to the city’s vacant property management website, the northeast section has the biggest number of vacant homes.
“Some people have as much business being a landlord as I have piloting a space shuttle,” Mayor Malik Evans said. “They shouldn’t be in the business.”
Three homes on Hudson Avenue are all shown to be owned by the same local LLC.
All of them have been left vacant and falling apart.
“We have also added language to various provision of our code that require owners, who own in the name of limited liability corporations (LLC), which is a very common practice, to identify the individuals behind that entity,” said Linda Kingsley, corporation counsel for the city. “This may not be a popular proposal for some landlords.”
Evans, alongside other city leaders, announced three new pieces of legislation Friday targeting property issues.
One measure would establish a vacant building registry that would take effect next year.
“This registry will require property owners to alert the city if the building they own remains vacant for more than 60 days,” Evans said. “As we all know, the city is facing a growing vacant building crisis. These buildings by their very nature present significant potential health and safety hazards to their neighborhoods, to city employees and the general public.”
The second piece establishes a landlord/tenant bill of rights that would take effect in August.
“I believe this bill of rights will be an essential step to addressing the housing concerns we have here in Rochester,” Evans said. “It’s critical that all sides clearly understand their responsibilities.”
The third measure would raise fines for code infractions and authorize the city’s corporation counsel to seek fines and penalties when taking legal action against a property owner.
“The message needs to be sent that should you refuse to address your violations and force us to take legal action, there will be stiff and very expensive penalties,” said Kingsley.
The legislative proposals will be considered by City Council at its May 23 meeting.
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