Buffalo, NY (WBEN) Concerns over slumlords in the city of Buffalo are commonplace throughout. A public hearing on vacant, flipped, and bank owned properties takes place Thursday afternoon at Council Chambers.
The problem has been around for decades says Masten District Councilmember and Majority Leader Demone Smith. "When you back to the 60s and suburban expansion, a lot of people just rented out their homes to pay for their move to the suburbs," explains Smith. "They didn't put anything back into the houses, they would rent to anybody and this went on for decades." Smith says flipping has also been a problem, as well as bank-owned properties, which he says are being held longer than necessary instead of turning them over to responsible people. "Some people keep flipping property after property and not caring who they sell to who in turn don't care who they rent to, and that just brings down the neighborhood," says Smith.
The Lovejoy District has also seen such issues. "We had a case where bank inspectors and bank property managers left the property wide open, and that night vandals came in and stole from the property, so we feel some of these managers are just going to flip the properties rather than protect them," says Council President Rich Fontana. "They're getting more brazen, so we're keeping an eye on this and if we see this, we'll alert banks. We know banks don't want to see this happen. Some of these unscrupulous property managers are just not keeping them up to code." Fontana says there should be no separate standard for rental property. "Once I see a house go from owner to rental, the bushes don't get trimmed, the lawns get cut every couple of weeks instead of every week. Guess what? That property manager has hurt the owner because the property value has just gone down," explains Fontana.
The University District has had concerns about out of control parties over the years. Last weekend, a UB student died in an off campus apartment. The cause of his death is inconclusive.