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Protests erupt as owner of Clinton Lofts tells 106 residents to leave

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Residents and community leaders demonstrated outside Clinton Lofts Thursday saying 106 people are being forced out by the owner.

They say the conditions there area already horrible.

“Disgusting. Embarrassing. I can’t even have nobody come and visit, I have water damage and mold,” says resident Keisha Campbell. “They don’t do no repairs and they don’t do no work. They’re slum lords.”

Campbell says she has nowhere else to go, and says her rent was already collected for this month.

Pamela Owens with the city-wide tenant’s union was looking at low-income housing in the neighborhood last week, when she and her team came across this property at 1616 North Clinton. That location is one of three Clinton Loft locations.

“I had to do what I could do to try and help these people here because this is inhumane,” Owens said.

Barbara Rivera with the tenant’s union says the inside of the buildings are awful. 

“Black mold, mice, bed bugs, rats in there — literally,” Rivera said.

City Councilmember Mary Lupien says due to these unlivable conditions, some tenants went on a rent strike, that’s why the owner, Ron Zour, is trying to forcibly evict everyone. She came today offering support and solutions. 

“The City of Rochester, through code enforcement can actually go in and fix these problems on their own, and then charge it back to the owner on the tax bill,” Lupien said.

Community activist Billy Booker says the entire complex has had their essential utilities turned off, including water, heat and electricity. He says there are over 190 code violations. 

“A landlord cannot, under state, federal or local law, shut down any tenant’s utilities,” Booker said.

Lupien says someone here has to be held accountable, and that begins with demonstrations like the one Thursday. 

“We need more and more people coming out to support the efforts of the tenant’s union,” Lupien said.

City Councilmember Mitch Gruber says all nine councilmembers sent a letter to Judge Michael Lopez and Judge Teresa Johnson asking to deny the evictions at Zour’s properties.

City Council’s letter

On Friday, owner Ron Zour issued the following statement to News 8:

“Over the past 24 hours, I have been working with officials from the City of Rochester on a plan to address code violations at properties located at the Lofts at North Clinton, 899 Culver Road, and 699 East Main Street. Tomorrow morning, we will relocate tenants in units with the most
significant maintenance issues to other apartments within the same property so that our maintenance team can work over the weekend to bring the units into compliance. On Monday, we plan to bring officials from the City of Rochester and the tenants’ union into the units to conduct an inspection to confirm the code issues are being addressed. As soon as the City deems that the units are in code compliance, tenants will be relocated back to their apartments. In addition, all eviction proceedings for non-payment of rent across these three properties have been withdrawn. We will continue to work closely with the City in the coming weeks to address all remaining code violations and come up with a payment solution for those tenants who are behind with their rent payments.”

-Ron Zour, Owner

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