Mayor Malik Evans’ task force scores landlords

Source News Team 10:

By the end of the year, renters will have the opportunity to score landlords. It was one of the topics discussed at the annual landlord summit in Rochester on Wednesday.

For over a year, News10NBC’s Deanna Dewberry has been investigating the rental crisis in Rochester. In February, Mayor Malik Evans established a task force that developed recommendations, many of which have now become law.

The purpose of the summit was to educate landlords about all these changes. However, there was one change that sparked anger among the 600 landlords in attendance.

A scoring system will now be implemented for rental properties, and the scores will be made available on the city’s website.

Last spring, when News10NBC interviewed a renter, she had been living in a house with a hole in the roof for over a year. This is one of the issues the city hopes to address by imposing higher fines for code violations.

“Now we have a baseline violation of $100. If it’s a health and safety violation, the fine will be $250. And if it’s a hazard violation, the fine will be $500,” explained Mike Furlano, the city housing attorney.

These changes came into effect on August 1.

Landlords interviewed by News10NBC did not object to the higher fines.

“Well, I think it’s long overdue. Some of these changes should have been implemented a long time ago, but I believe they will now make some changes to assist landlords who are doing the right thing,” said landlord James Wynn Jr.

However, when Dana Miller, the commissioner of neighborhoods and business development, informed the landlords that their properties would be scored, tensions rose in the room.

“You had a lot of people who were really upset about that,” he said. Did he anticipate this reaction? “I did. When people are told they will be scored, whether it’s a grade in class or a property management scoring system, they often wonder how it will be determined.”

Nevertheless, some landlords argued that tenants should also be scored. One landlord shared an incident where a renter pulled a gun on her. The commissioner tried to reassure them that the scoring system would be fair.

“We will utilize all the information available to us – code enforcement, current tenants, previous tenants – and we will generate a score that will be calculated and then published on our city website,” Miller assured.

Jacob Thorp, a landlord who served on a panel that developed the new property scoring system, believes it will help achieve the city’s goals of improving housing quality and encouraging responsible landlords in the appropriate areas of the city.

Landlords also expressed concerns that a disruptive tenant could give a property a low score out of spite.

To address these situations, the scoring system allows landlords to report a disruptive tenant, thereby exempting the property from being scored.

The city aims to launch the property rating system by the end of the year.

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One Response

  1. I believe this hot-button issue can only be solved by proving to both landlords and tenants a solution that whenever a conflict arises, it can only be addressed if the scoring system is drawn up by landlord and tenant representatives and administered by a non-partisan third party within a reasonable time frame (48 hours) of when the scoring happens. I would like to see landlord-tenant court abolished and attorneys eliminated from the process and in turn an adjudication/arbitration panel review the outcome of a scoring system and administer the penalty which will result in either a landlord fixing the problem or the tenant given a warning to immediately correct the problem or face eviction within one week.

    I have witnessed court proceedings in landlord tenant cases, and a judge is put on the spot where a landlord shows up with an attorney and the tenant is immediately at a disadvantage who cannot afford an attorney and may possibly be unable to adequately present his or her case. The key is fairness to all parties.

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