Housing Council offers tips to potential tenants
By: Lynette Adams
Police reported that Charles Hain was arrested, and faces charges, after he rented a Brockport home that he never owned. He also reportedly had a history of foreclosures.
“We’re happy that justice is going to be served, and hopefully he can learn a lesson from this,” said Jamie Erpcott.
Erpcott and Kayleigh McDonald estimate that they are out nearly $5,000 in rent payments to Chuck Hain for a house in Brockport.
Hain claimed that he owned the home, but in December the bank that owns it told them it was in foreclosure, and they had to move.
Following this story, people reached out asking what resources are available to people who are looking to rent an apartment or home.
To get these questions addressed, we spoke with the Rochester Housing Council.
The Housing Council is a HUD approved housing counseling service. This means they work for both landlords and tenants.
They say that tenants have rights, as well as responsibilities, and that people can protect themselves.
Joel Kunkler, the Director of Landlord and Tenant Services for the Housing Council, says that there are a lot of good landlords in the area, but these cares are not rare.
“To find out you’ve given someone money, you’re prepared to move, and you’ve ended a tenancy in another place, and you’re prepared to move in another place, and that place isn’t there for you because it’s a scam… is very sad,” said Kunkler.
Kunkler says people should take the time to check out the landlord. In the city, people can call the neighborhood service center at 311, and ask who owns a specific property.
People can also search a property on the city’s website.
If you find an apartment on Craig’s List, make sure the landlord is reputable before you hand over any cash.
“Every property manager should have a broker of record standing behind them,” said Kunkler. “That’s the law in New York State. So they should be able to reference the broker they work for, under the license that they work for, and you can check brokers license under the New York State Bureau of Licensing.”
People should also check out the property itself. It is recommended that they ask other tenants in the building, or neighbors, about the landlord. Most importantly, people should know their rights.
“The strong majority of landlords who provide property in the City of Rochester are phenomenal people who go above and beyond just the provision or property who make sure that their tenants have safe places to live,” said Kunkler.
The Housing Council has also prepared a booklet that further explains people’s rights and responsibilities as a tenant.
Any questions people may have can be directed to the Housing Council’s hotline at 546-3700. You can also call if you are looking for an apartment to rent.
For people that have a problem with the landlord, they can either reach out to the Housing Council, or the local government where they live.