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Thursday, May 18, 2017

State settles with Buffalo landlord to protect University Heights quality of life

All WNY News     Thursday, May 18, 2017    

STAFF REPORTS



BUFFALO – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a consent decree with Jeremy Dunn, a prominent landlord who owns and controls dozens of properties on Winspear Avenue and Northrup Place in the University Heights, a residential neighborhood in the City of Buffalo. Dunn's properties are notorious for hosting dangerous house parties and undermining quality of life for the entire neighborhood. The Attorney General's settlement requires Dunn to properly screen his tenants, place extensive limits on the parties at his properties, regularly inspect and clean up the properties, obtain certificates of occupancy, make necessary repairs, and take other steps to improve neighborhood quality of life.

Dunn leases to young people – often five or more tenants – some of whom host very large house parties, often attended by hundreds. There have been frequent reports of guests urinating and vomiting off roofs and on the lawns of neighborhood residents; destroyed property; and drunken brawls. Neighbors, many of whom have lived in University Heights for decades, have been forced to decide whether it's worth it to remain in their homes amidst these conditions.

The house parties are not only highly disruptive to neighborhood residents – they also pose a risk to the young people who attend them. Young people gather by the hundreds in the basements of the properties with only one exit. The parties are often magnets for crime, with police receiving reports of assault, robbery, rape, and even a suicide attempt. Since September 2014, the Buffalo Police Department has received more than 500 calls to 911 concerning Dunn's properties on Winspear Avenue and Northrup Place alone. In the past, Dunn did little to intervene.

"For years, University Heights residents have had to sacrifice their quality of life, simply because they lived near one of Jeremy Dunn's properties. Dunn's reckless management not only harmed the other homeowners in the neighborhood--it was a disservice to the students who lived there too," said Attorney General Schneiderman. "Everyone deserves to live in a safe neighborhood. The consent decree we secured will help ensure that University Heights residents finally get the peace and safety they deserve."

Per the terms of the consent decree, Dunn will now require rental applications, and prohibit his tenants from having parties for which a fee is charged or alcohol is served to minors or consumed in public areas, such as the sidewalk. Tenants will be prohibited from gathering on the roofs of buildings or hosting any parties with more than 40 persons attending. Tenants who violate these prohibitions will be subject to eviction. In the event a tenant holds a house party, Dunn has agreed that he will immediately respond to the party at the request of the Buffalo Police Department.

The agreement will also enhance the neighborhood. Dunn is required to inspect his properties to ensure they are code compliant, obtain certificates of occupancy for the properties he controls, make any repairs required by the City of Buffalo, and police his properties after each weekend to remove any trash or graffiti.

The Attorney General's office will actively monitor the situation to ensure Dunn's compliance.
This matter was handled by James M. Morrissey of the Buffalo Regional Office. The Buffalo Regional Office is led by Michael Russo. The Division of Regional Office is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General for Regional Affairs Marty Mack.

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