ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — On Monday, April 10, firefighters were called to a home in the overnight hours at 26 Burbank Street. It was the second time the home caught fire in less than a month and with fire officials deeming it to be arson. The building is owned by an LLC called SFR3-60 and according to city records, it has 12 code violations currently listed. To top it off, the city’s housing attorney Mike Fulano says he cannot get in touch with anyone with the company.
“We have the long-term concern of companies coming in, engaging in de-investment and leaving the city with a husk of a property. We have the short-term problem of these, when there’s an immediate issue and an emergency, that we have no body to contact – the occupants have nobody to contact, the neighbors don’t have anybody to contact whenever something goes wrong with these properties. There’s no accountability,” says Furlano.
Furlano adds, SFR3 has been on the city’s radar since came on board with Corporation Counsel in September. Based on his understanding, and the company’s website, it is California-based real estate fund which creates varying LLCs to purchase property portfolios.
This is why 26 Burbank Street’s owner is listed as ‘SFR3-60’ — there are other LLCs with similar names, such as SFR3-20, SFR3-80, and so on.
“So in Rochester, there’s 8 different LLCs that own a bunch of property in Rochester. Now our concern, at least with this property [sic, group] – why it’s on our radar is a lot of them have double-digit violations. So 41 of these properties have double digit violations, 17 have more than 20 violations, 25 of these are vacant. 115 of them have open cases with us which means there’s at least one violation known, or no Certificate of Occupancy that we’re aware of.”
I’ve tried to reach out to the group several times over the past but have yet to receive a response.
According to Furlano, SFR3 as the parent company owns hundreds of homes in our area, all purchased within the last two years.
“My understanding is it’s within all their subsidiary LLC’s…over 200 properties….that’s my understanding, yes,” Furlano says.
“They’re distributed throughout Rochester but more so in the areas where property values are lower, a lot of high rental areas. You see there’s a lot of Beechwood here, MarketView Heights, down in the 19th ward as well, Furlano adds, while referencing a map with dozens of pinpoints indicating each property owned by SFR3.
Whether the city will take SFR3 to court is unclear, but the city will have to consider several factors.
“While we can’t comment on cases that we are going to bring — once we bring them, then we can talk about them — so we can’t comment on cases that we are considering, unfortunately,” says Furlano.
There is no cap for the number of properties an individual, group, or otherwise can own; if you are a responsible owner, you can own as much property as you’d like. Current city code states for each code violation on a property, it’s $500 per violation, per day. The City also hired additional code enforcement officers last fall along with a code enforcement trainer. According to the city, each inspector has an average of around 300 cases, or properties, they take on.