College landlords in Brockport are infamous for doing stupid things, but the guy who turned Bob Wilson’s old house into a college rental may take the cake.
He just sprayed the edge of the front lawn with herbicide and killed the grass. But he didn’t do all the edges, just the edges along the street, the sidewalk, and some flower beds. It is seriously ugly. Bob Wilson would turn over in his grave.
This isn’t the first strange thing this landlord has done. At the end of the spring semester last month, he called the police to complain that the fraternity boys he’d rented to last year had punched holes in the interior walls of the house.
The police had to wonder if he was serious. What did he expect when he rented the house to a fraternity? But he complained to the neighbors anyway; then he went ahead and rented the house to college students again for next year. Some people never learn.
While the police were in the house, a member of the Brockport Police Explorer Program who was with them noticed some stolen property in the house: a stone bench that had been reported stolen from a house across the street.
As The Miracle on Fayette Street proves, the property owner could make more money by fixing up the house and selling it to a family. But he’d rather ruin a great house than save it.
He’d rather do the work need to repair the walls, and then complain about it when he has to do it all over again year after year because of the damage done by the college student tenants.
The behavior of the students he rented to during previous school years has prompted numerous calls to the police about noise violations and other behavior. But last year was even worse.
There used to be a nice deck on the north side of the house, but it had been torn off after Bob Wilson died. However, the door from the second story of the house out on to the deck was never removed, so there is still access to a small slanted roof on the second story of the house.
Last year the students who rented the house use to party on that slanted roof late at night, and the evidence they left behind indicates that they used the slanted roof as a place where they could drink beer and smoke dope undisturbed.
But there is no railing on that slanted roof, which makes it a dangerous place for college students to do stupid things.
But when Scott Z, the Code Enforcement Officer, was notified about it, he stood there looking up at the doorway out to the slanted roof and said, “There’s no code violation. The landlord nailed a board across the inside of the door, and that’s good enough to meet the code on a new house under construction, so it is good enough here.”
That’s a strange answer; as if there is no difference between a house under construction and a 150 year-old two-story house occupied by a bunch of college students who are using the place as a fraternity house.
What makes the answer even stranger is that when the landlord was asked about the same door to the slanted roof he gave a completely different answer. The landlord said that he had installed a padlock on the inside of the door.
It makes you think that somebody isn’t telling the truth about that door.
The landlord speculated that the college students had crawled out through the small bathroom window immediately below the slanted roof, then climbed on the neighbor’s fence and climbed up on the roof. However, there is no evidence that anyone has ever climbed on that fence, other than the local squirrels, who climb on it all the time.
One neighbor suggested that perhaps the students had simply raised one of the rear windows on the house, stepped out onto a steeply pitched roof on an addition to the house, and then walked up and over the steeply pitched roof to the small slanted roof where they drank beer and smoked dope.
The landlord dismissed that idea as too dangerous. But he is not willing to take any steps to prevent the tenants from doing something so stupid.
He says that maybe next year he’ll nail a piece of drywall over the door, which makes you wonder if he had ever put a padlock on that door in the first place.
Maybe he’ll finally learn when one of the student tenants falls off that slanted roof and gets badly injured. Then the landlord will get sued for negligence. He’ll lose in court; he’ll lose his shirt; and he’ll lose the house too.
In the meantime, he’s just out there spraying herbicide that kills the grass, but not the weeds, and makes the property look ugly.
Section § 27-3 of the Brockport Village Code defines herbicides as a POLLUTANT. But section § 46-2. of the same code seems to give the landlord carte blanch to do just about anything he wants with the grass located on Village property in front of the rental house.
“The Village of Brockport shall have full power and authority over all trees, plants and shrubs (excluding grass) located within street rights-of-way, public parks, public rights-of-way or easements, and other public places in the Village.”
So that grass in front of Bob Wilson’s old house is going to be dead and ugly until next spring.
Turning a single-family house into a college rental property depresses property values in the entire neighborhood. Stupid use of herbicides depresses property values even more.
Maybe it’s time for the Mayor to sit down with Scott Z and come up with a solution to this kind of predictable stupidity about the roof and the herbicide use.
Maybe its time for the Trustees to look at the Village Code and close some of the loopholes.