ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — We’re getting an update from City of Rochester leaders surrounding progress of the Housing Quality Task Force charged with addressing immediate and urgent housing needs. 

One of the recommendations the group delivered six months ago was an increase to code enforcement staff, and more legal support for the city when it comes to irresponsible landlords.

The city said Wednesday it had started taking legal action against landlords who have outstanding violations, repeat issues, or other problems. The city took two of the cases to the New York State Supreme Court.

“The thing I’m proudest of is the work we’re doing to hold landlords accountable,” said Rochester Mayor Malik Evans, touting the accomplishments of the Housing Quality Task Force Wednesday afternoon. 

A housing attorney was also hired in September. 

“We had two lawsuits, one was on a landlord that had seven properties with 110 violations and that’s the one that’s been settled for the $8,000 fine plus all the other fines, plus not removing tenants, plus doing the repairs,” said Linda Kingsley, Corporation Counsel, City of Rochester. “The other one is six properties with over 250 violations.” 

Kingsley said the task force recognized the need to better ensure property sales through the city’s tax foreclosure auction. 

“We are canceling the sales for anyone with outstanding, uncorrected code violations on another property,” Kingsley said. “So if you’ve been on a property in the auction, and you have other properties, you’re not going to get that property unless right now —and they’re giving a very short time frames— you clear all your other code violations.” 

Additional code enforcement staff were brought on, as well as enhancements to repair and improvement programs like the Emergency Hazard Abatement Program.  

Officials say the city law department is working on legislation to present to Rochester City Council in the near future.