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Rochester files lawsuit over violations at some city apartment buildings

May 21, 2018

The City of Rochester has filed a lawsuit against  a  landlord whose properties have come under scrutiny in recent months due to code violations.

The suit filed in City Court is against Thurston Road Realty, a company owned by Peter Hungerford.

In its lawsuit, the city says it is trying to force Hungerford to correct outstanding violations at 447 Thurston Road and 967 Chili Avenue, which it says present a health and safety hazard to the tenants.

Among the violations listed in the lawsuit are roach and mouse infestation, missing window panes, and clogged bathroom drains.

City officials say over the past year, the Thurston Road and Chili Avenue properties have each received about a dozen notices and orders identifying violations. The suit also mentions thousands of dollars owed to Rochester Gas and Electric.

The city is asking a judge to force Hungerford’s company to either fix the violations by a certain date, or appoint a receiver who would bring the buildings up to code and collect the rents during time it takes to make the repairs.

Earlier this year , residents of the buildings started a rent strike because of the conditions.

Rochester’s Corporation Counsel Tim Curtin issued this statement:

Landlords and property managers have an obligation to keep their properties safe and habitable. In this case, Mr. Hungerford has been given multiple warnings and opportunities to correct outstanding violations at his properties, and his failure to do so means we must do what is in the best interest of our residents, his tenants.”

The property owner, Peter Hungerford, provided this response:

"Thurston Road Realty continues to fix and repair any and all violations the City assesses at the property.  For some reason, the City continues its punitive and aggressive stance against this building.  For example, on a single day in April, the City assessed 48 “New” violations on the property, despite having been in the property a dozen times since the 1st of the year.  Similarly, we have repaired nearly 100 violations on this property alone during the same period.  Why the City assessed one new violation for each violation it removes, is beyond me.  It seems likely they assessed dozens of violations so there would be cause for the petition to be filed.  Additionally, it does seem obvious there is an agenda, since the RG&E information is completely inaccurate, and we have offered to remediate all violations multiple times without cooperation from the City.  We have always and will continue to abate any violations assessed, regardless of whether or not the City and it’s Inspection Department treat us fairly."