ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester Mayor Malik Evans was joined by city leaders to discuss three legislative plans to address property issues and vacant buildings throughout the City of Rochester.
Mayor Evans said that he was alerted Friday morning on a deficient property, along with other city officials dealing with code violations and firefighters battling fires in vacant homes over the past several months.
He said a majority of property owners are responsible and law-abiding, but a small number of owners are creating issues in the city. Leaders such as City Council President Miguel Melendez want to hold these landlords accountable.
“We have far too many properties in the City of Rochester that have been without accountability in the past and we are looking toward the future to hold them accountable,” said City Council President Miguel Melendez.
The first plan is to establish a registry for vacant property owners — owners would have to alert the city if their properties are vacant for over 60 days. If they fail, the city can take the owner to court and take the property. This is due to vacant properties causing health and safety problems, and being used for crimes such as arson, drug dealing, and sex trafficking, according to Evans.
The second proposal will require the Department of Neighborhood and Business Development and the Corporation Counsel to create a bill of rights for landlords and tenants — this is to clarify the rights and responsibilities between both parties.
The last proposal will establish new fines and increase increasing fines for poor maintenance, code violations, and unauthorized code violations. Penalties for code violations start at $100, health and safety violations at $250, and immediate hazards will be $500. The time between tickets will be cut in half to 30 days.
“Those that choose to ignore their legal obligations will find themselves in a much more uncomfortable situation,” said Rochester Corporation Counsel Linda Kingsley.
Oscar Lee Brewer, Jr. running for the County Legislature said city hall might need to take this up a notch. “…Start bringing criminal charges on them,” he said.
Barbara Rivera running for City Council said there are delinquent owners who have been fined and ticketed for years. “… and (they) have not been held accountable,” she said.
Mayor Evans says he wants the residents of Rochester to not think they should accept these properties.
“I’m not interested in being anyone’s parent, the City of Rochester is not interested in being anyone’s parent,” Mayor Evans said. “I want to serve a clear notice to our delinquent landlords: if you won’t correct the code violation, we will hold you accountable.”
City officials said that they will provide updates for these legislative plans in the future.
FULL PRESS CONFERENCE:
Check back with News 8 as we continue to update this developing story.