City of Rochester, NY
Monroe County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Rochester City Council 7-13-1993 by Ord. No. 93-241. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Purchasing and property management — See Ch. 8A.
Building Code — See Ch. 39.
Building construction: plumbing — See Ch. 40.
House numbering — See Ch. 61.
Zoning — See Ch. 120.
Land subdivision regulations — See Ch. A128.
The acquisition of real property by the City of Rochester, through any means other than in-rem foreclosure, is a function of the Division of Real Estate. Acquisitions require the approval of City Council and are subject to the following guidelines:
A. 
The Director of Real Estate shall negotiate the purchase of real property for municipal purposes. The appraised value of the property, as determined by a professional independent appraisal, shall serve as the basis for a settlement through negotiation or condemnation. Easements (both permanent and temporary) and licenses shall also be acquired in accordance with these procedures.
B. 
The Director of Real Estate may accept a donation of real estate when it is deemed by the Commissioner of Neighborhood and Business Development to be in the best interest of the City.
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
C. 
Under federal programs, the Director of Real Estate may acquire property using funds provided by the federal government.
D. 
Under the Blight Program, privately owned properties that are vacant and have a blighting effect on the surrounding neighborhood may be acquired through negotiation or condemnation, after efforts to work with the owner to achieve code compliance have failed. The value of the property, as established by a professional independent appraisal, shall serve as the basis for settlement through negotiation or condemnation.
A. 
The Director of Real Estate is authorized to lease private property when needed for municipal purposes. At the request of a City department, the Division of Real Estate will recommend for consideration various sites that are available for lease. After selection of a site by the department, the Director of Real Estate shall negotiate lease terms and enter into a rental agreement, subject to approval by City Council.
B. 
The Director of Real Estate may, with approval of the Commissioner of Neighborhood and Business Development, enter into a rental agreement for a period of less than one year, on a month-to-month basis.
[Amended 5-16-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-94; 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
When applicable, the Division of Real Estate shall administer relocation programs to provide relocation assistance to individuals and businesses that are displaced through acquisition of property by the City for municipal use.
Real property owned by the City which has been acquired through tax foreclosure proceedings or other means and is no longer needed for municipal purposes may be sold by the Director of Real Estate, upon approval by City Council, through any method authorized by statute, local law or ordinance.
All sales of City-owned real property at public auction shall be made by the Director of Real Estate or his or her representative after notice of the sale has been published at least once in an official newspaper of the City, subject to the approval by City Council of the sale price and purchaser. Such sales shall also be subject to the following terms and conditions:
A. 
Deposits.
(1) 
The required deposit on an auctioned structure shall be $1,000 or 25% of the purchase price, whichever is greater, and the in-lieu of tax payment which will cover a time period of approximately 12 months. At the time of the auction, the high bidder for a structured property must secure the bid by immediately depositing with the City the amount of $1,000, or a deposit deemed appropriate by the Director of Real Estate, payable only in cash or cashier's check. In the event that the total of the purchase price and in-lieu-of-tax payment is less than $1,000, the purchaser shall be required to pay the actual total of these two figures at the time of the auction.
[Amended 5-16-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-94]
(2) 
The required deposit on an auctioned vacant lot shall be $50, payable only in cash or cashier's check.
[Amended 5-16-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-94]
(3) 
The amount of the minimum bids and deposits collected at the time of sale may be changed at the discretion of the Director of Real Estate due to special circumstances of the property.
B. 
Within a time period established by the Director of Real Estate, any remaining balance of the twenty-five-percent deposit and an in-lieu-of-tax payment covering a time period of approximately 12 months shall be delivered to the Division of Real Estate. At this time, the high bidder for a structured property must also apply in the Permit Office for a certificate of occupancy. If the high bidder misses the deadline for payment of the twenty-five-percent deposit, the high bidder shall forfeit the initial amount deposited to secure the bid to the City as liquidated damages. The Division of Real Estate shall then contact the second high bidder. Within 30 days of the auction, the high bidder for a vacant lot must submit a written development proposal to the Director of Real Estate. When it is deemed appropriate by the Director of Real Estate, high bidders for selected structures may also be required to submit a written development proposal within 30 days of the auction.
C. 
After approval by City Council, the successful bidder must conditionally close with the Law Department in a timely manner. At the conditional closing, the purchaser shall be required to deposit the balance of the purchase price with the City. From the date of conditional closing, the purchaser shall have by contract a specified time period to repair all building code violations cited by the Bureau of Buildings and Zoning, or complete construction of an improvement on the formerly vacant lot as signified by the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, or meet any other applicable condition imposed by the City. Extensions may be granted, in writing, by the Division of Real Estate. In such cases, the successful bidder must pay to the City additional in-lieu-of-tax payments and any other applicable City charges. In lieu of conditional closing, the Director of Real Estate may provide for title to be passed through a reverter deed which permits the City to retake title in the event that the purchaser does not comply with conditions of the sale. The use of such reverter deeds shall be upon terms and conditions, including financial guaranties of rehabilitation, as the Director of Real Estate shall establish.
[Amended 5-16-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-94; 6-20-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-170]
D. 
After notification by the Bureau of Buildings and Zoning that a certificate of occupancy has been issued, or that other applicable City-imposed conditions have been met, the Division of Real Estate shall notify the Law Department to record the deed.
[Amended 5-16-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-94; 6-20-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-170]
E. 
The City shall provide only a title report for parcels of real property sold at public auction. If the title to any portion of a property is not insurable, the purchaser or the City shall have the right to cancel the contract. In the event of such cancellation, by either party, any money deposited with the City shall be returned to the purchaser and there shall be no further liability on the part of either party. Responsibility for obtaining title insurance or an abstract shall be with the purchaser.
F. 
All conveyances shall be by quitclaim deed and shall be executed on behalf of the City by the Mayor. The Corporation Counsel is hereby authorized, when, in his or her opinion, the interest of the City will be promoted thereby, to procure title insurance for any property sold at public auction, and the cost of such title insurance may be deducted from the deposit payment made for such property.
[Amended 5-16-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-94]
G. 
The purchaser shall pay closing costs as specified in the purchase contract, which shall include but are not limited to the recording fee, the state transfer tax, the title insurance premium and filing fee for Form TP-584.
H. 
Real property sold at public auction shall be sold free and clear of any liens for City taxes or other City charges.
A. 
Pursuant to the provisions of § 5-28 of the Charter of the City of Rochester, parcels of real property and the rights and easements therein may be sold by the Director of Real Estate by negotiated sale and without competitive bid, on such terms, prices and conditions as shall be approved by the Council of the City of Rochester.
B. 
The sale price for real property sold by negotiated sale shall be established by a professional independent appraisal. Exceptions may be made if the Director of Real Estate estimates that the value of the real property is $1,000 or less or the City has independently established values for similar sales on file, which may be utilized by the Director of Real Estate as comparables to establish the value of real property. In such cases, the sale price shall be established by a City staff appraisal. Exceptions may also be made for redemptions by former owners of properties lost through tax foreclosure and properties which do not receive bids at public auction, excluding owner-occupant auctions and special sales, which may be offered by the Division of Real Estate at a price established by the Director of Real Estate.
[Amended 7-23-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-233]
C. 
Purchasers of real property sold through negotiated sale must pay the City 25% of the purchase price in cash or cashier's check at the time of the submission of an offer to purchase, as a deposit payment to become part of the purchase price if the City Council approves the sale. Such deposit payment shall be returned to the purchaser if the offer is not accepted. Such deposit may be waived in the case of City-sponsored housing development projects.
[Amended 5-16-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-94]
D. 
The purchaser must comply with the terms and conditions set forth in Subsections C, D, E, F, G and H of § 21-5 of the Municipal Code, if applicable.
E. 
The Director of Real Estate may pay brokerage commissions for the disposal of real property by negotiated sale, subject to guidelines adopted by the City Council.
F. 
Nothing herein contained shall be construed as preventing the sale of any real property acquired by the City in tax foreclosure proceedings, and rights and easements therein, by public sale pursuant to law.
[Amended 7-23-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-233]
The Director of Real Estate may sell parcels of real property to owner-occupants through various owner-occupant programs, including but not limited to the owner-occupant lottery, the owner-occupant auction and the Tenant Ownership Program. Owner-occupant purchasers shall not own other residential property and must meet the income guidelines established by the Director of Real Estate. The sale price for real property sold at an owner-occupant lottery shall be $1. The sale price for real property sold at an owner-occupant auction shall be established through an open competitive bidding process. The sale price for real property sold through the Tenant Ownership Program shall be established by a professional independent appraisal. All owner-occupant purchasers shall occupy the purchased property after the date of issuance of a certificate of occupancy for a minimum period of time as established by the Director of Real Estate, provided that the minimum period shall be not less than three years if no City funding is used in the purchase and not less than five years if any City funding is used. Failure to comply with the terms and conditions of the sale agreements shall result in forfeiture of the deposit fee, and the purchaser shall be prohibited from purchasing other City property for a term of three years. Processing of owner-occupant sales shall proceed in the same manner as with a sale by public auction.
A. 
Real property may be sold through a request for proposal sale at an auction or at a special sale when:
(1) 
The legal use of a property is different from the actual use;
(2) 
The rehabilitation cost is excessive to the average purchaser, and the City wishes to screen purchasers regarding the cost estimates and funding for the project;
(3) 
The parcel being sold is vacant land over 10,000 square feet in size, where a proposal is required in order to ensure that the property is to be developed in compliance with City codes and that the purchaser has the ability to carry the proposal through to completion;
(4) 
The unique development of a property is anticipated; or
(5) 
The Director of Real Estate deems the type of property sale to be in the best interest of the City.
B. 
The purchase price of a parcel sold at a request for proposal sale shall be established by a professional independent appraisal or by the Director of Real Estate in accordance with § 21-6B.
C. 
A purchaser in a request for proposal sale shall submit a proposal plan to the Division of Real Estate. The plan must include a description of the proposed reuse of the property, a timetable for complete rehabilitation or construction work to be done, a description of all work to be done, cost estimates for proposed work and verifiable sources of finances to complete the project. The purchaser may include any required contingencies such as bank financing, zoning or planning changes which may be required. The proposal plan shall be reviewed by the Commissioner of Neighborhood and Business Development and his or her staff, as well as other appropriate departments and bureaus. If the plan is disapproved, the purchaser's deposit shall be refunded. If the plan is approved, the sale shall be processed in the same manner as a sale by public auction.
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
A. 
The Director of Real Estate may sell a parcel of real property by land contract to a residential tenant, commercial tenant or industrial tenant or at public sale. The sale price for real property sold through a land contract sale shall be established by a professional independent appraisal, unless the price is established at public auction. The Bureau of Property Conservation and Inspection Services shall inspect all properties sold through land contract and provide the purchaser with a list of code violations. The purchaser must occupy the property during the term of the land contract. A monthly payment schedule shall be established which provides for equal monthly installments of principal and interest, amortized for a period not to exceed 15 years. Such payment schedule shall be in accordance with rules and regulations established by the Director of Real Estate and shall include a monthly payment to cover estimated future City taxes, embellishments and water and pure waters charges during the term of the land contract agreement. Upon recording of the deed to the property in the purchaser's name, the purchaser shall become directly responsible for payment of such charges. Nonpayment of a monthly payment within 30 days of the billing date constitutes default and subjects a land contract to cancellation.
B. 
A residential tenant must deposit 10% of the purchase price with the Division of Real Estate upon signing a land contract agreement. A commercial or industrial tenant must deposit 25% of the purchase price upon signing a land contract agreement. Purchasers at public auction must follow the procedures set forth in § 21-5 of the Municipal Code. Processing of such sale shall proceed in the manner set forth for the sale of real property at public auction. A land contract purchaser shall have nine months from the execution of the land contract agreement to complete rehabilitation of the property and eliminate code violations cited by the Bureau of Buildings and Zoning. When the last payment is made under the land contract agreement, the deed shall be recorded in the purchaser's name. Until the deed is filed, the City shall retain the right to periodically inspect the property to ensure property code compliance.
[Amended 6-20-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-170]
[Added 5-16-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-94;[1] amended 1-16-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-4]
A. 
A conveyance of a property to the City through tax foreclosure may be canceled, by court order, upon application of the Corporation Counsel, where deemed to be in the City's best interest. Such application shall be discretionary on the part of the Corporation Counsel, after consultation with other affected departments, and shall require at least that the taxes and other charges due the City prior to the foreclosure be paid. Other conditions may also be imposed.
B. 
Former owners shall not have an absolute right to repurchase a property taken through county tax foreclosure proceedings and deeded to the City. The former owner may repurchase said property only at the discretion of the Director of Real Estate. Where sale of such a foreclosed property to the former owner is deemed to be in the City’s best interests by the Director of Real Estate, the sale price shall consist of all City tax arrears, delinquent water bills, pure waters charges previously paid by the City and any other City charges, interest to the date of payment, a ten-percent penalty, the cost of a title report and all current taxes. The former owner shall also pay all current county taxes and charges and all county taxes and charges which had been canceled through the foreclosure proceedings. The Director of Real Estate may establish rules and regulations governing the eligibility of the various categories of former owners and governing the time period in which they may elect to repurchase their former property. Former owners shall be screened in accordance with § 21-16 of the Municipal Code. Former owners may also be disapproved for repurchase due to previous noncompliance with City codes, criminal activity or nuisance points on a parcel currently or formerly owned by the former owner, default in a demolition hearing, or default on a City grant or loan agreement. Former owners who are occupants of a building shall be required to execute a standard City rental agreement. If the sale is not completed, the City may deduct any back rent owed from deposits made by the former owner as part of the purchase price. The former owner shall be required to obtain a certificate of occupancy within a certain time after City Council approval of the sale, as established by the Director of Real Estate. Title shall transfer to the former owner upon obtaining the certificate of occupancy. Any liens against a property that had been canceled as a result of the foreclosure shall be reinstated upon transfer of title to the former owner.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former § 21-10, Sales to former owners, as amended.
The Director of Real Estate may sell real property to tax-exempt organizations in accordance with guidelines adopted by City Council.
The Director of Real Estate may sell buildable parcels of vacant land by request for proposal sale, public auction or negotiated sale, in accordance with guidelines adopted by City Council. Further, the Director of Real Estate may sell unbuildable residential vacant parcels of real estate to adjacent property owners for $1 each. The purchaser shall, in addition to the purchase price of $1 of the unbuildable parcel, pay the current Monroe County recording fee. The purchaser shall combine the unbuildable parcel with the adjacent private property to form one parcel with one tax account number. In order to effect this purpose, the Mayor is authorized to make all necessary corrections in the names of the owners of the privately owned property approved by City Council to assure that the sales are made to adjacent owners.
[Amended 5-16-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-94]
Rochester Urban Renewal property shall be sold in accordance with New York State law. The sale must be approved by the Rochester Urban Renewal Agency, and its action affirmed by City Council. The procedures for submission and selection of development proposals shall be the same as those established for the disposition of City-owned real estate.
The Division of Real Estate may participate in federally sponsored affordable housing programs as they become available.
A. 
The Mayor may cancel sales of real property which have been approved by City Council when the purchaser requests cancellation or when the purchaser fails to comply with the terms and conditions of the purchase agreement.
B. 
Cancellation shall be effective only after 30 days' notice has been given to the City Council through an official communication, followed by written notice from the Director of Real Estate to the purchaser.
C. 
For cancellations processed pursuant to this section, the City shall retain all deposits and in-lieu-of-tax payments as liquidated damages, except in those cases where the Corporation Counsel determines that the purchaser has a meritorious claim for the recovery of such deposits and in-lieu-of-tax payments. Proposed reimbursement of any such amount shall be communicated to the City Council in the notice required by Subsection B.
D. 
City Council shall retain the authority to take legislative action regarding any sale to be canceled prior to the expiration of the 30 days' notice established in Subsection B.
E. 
Purchasers who have real estate sales canceled as a result of their failure to perform shall be barred from purchasing additional City property for a period of three years. After such three-year period, such purchasers may again be eligible to buy real property from the City, provided that such purchasers shall be required to place a double down payment for their first purchase at a public sale after a cancellation.
A. 
The City Council hereby deems it to be in the best interest of the City to sell real property to purchasers who will be responsible property owners, and to that end the Department of Neighborhood and Business Development shall review City records to determine whether or not potential purchasers have been the subject of tax foreclosure proceedings, owe property taxes on other real property within the City of Rochester, have been the subject of a cancellation of sale by the City of Rochester or own other property within the City of Rochester that is in violation of City codes.
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
B. 
Purchasers who have engaged in fraudulent activity in connection with the sale of a City-owned property, who have lost real property through tax foreclosure proceedings within the previous five years, who own property within the City of Rochester for which taxes are not current, who have had a sale cancelled by the City of Rochester within the previous three years, who have been held in contempt of a court order for failure to abate code violations within the previous five years or who have unsatisfied judgments in the Municipal Code Violations Bureau within the previous five years shall be ineligible to purchase property from the City. Purchasers who own property within the City of Rochester that is in violation of City codes shall be deemed ineligible to purchase property from the City unless the violation(s) are on property that is part of construction, rehabilitation or development projects, or is undergoing periodic certificate of occupancy renewal, and it is established by the Department of Neighborhood and Business Development that the purchaser is making satisfactory progress toward the abatement of said violations. Where the purchaser is not an individual, these provisions shall also apply to officers, principals and related businesses or associations. Such provisions shall not apply to purchasers of unbuildable vacant land.
[Amended 5-16-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-94; 1-16-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-4; 8-21-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-326]
The Director of Real Estate is hereby authorized to promulgate rules and regulations governing the sale of real estate, provided that such rules and regulations shall not be contrary to any requirements established herein.
[Amended 7-12-1995 by Ord. No. 95-259; 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
The Commissioner of Neighborhood and Business Development through delegation to the Director of Real Estate is hereby authorized to enter into temporary leases and license agreements, for any term not longer than one year, on a month-to-month basis, for real property owned by the City of Rochester and not currently needed for municipal purposes. In addition, the Commissioner of Economic Development is hereby authorized to grant temporary licenses for the purpose of parking lot operations, revocable upon not more than 30 days' notice, for the use of real property owned by the City of Rochester and not currently needed for municipal purposes. The Director of Real Estate is authorized to evict from City property squatters, or tenants who fail to abide by lease provisions.
When an easement over City-owned property is necessary for public benefit, the Director of Real Estate is authorized to enter into an easement agreement. The value of the easement shall be established by a professional independent appraisal. Easements may be granted to utility companies for $1 (payment waived) in instances where the value of the City parcel is not diminished by the utility easement or if a City action, such as road construction, created the need for the utility easement.
[Amended 5-16-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-94]
Garden permits may be issued by the Director of Real Estate for use of City-owned vacant lots by the public, for gardening purposes. The permits are valid for a term of up to one year and are renewable on an annual basis.
The Director of Real Estate may establish a program to sell privately owned deteriorated structures in the City by public auction. The Director of Real Estate shall establish rules and regulations for said program, which shall have as its goal the rehabilitation of deteriorated structures, reoccupation of vacant structures and improving housing, neighborhood stability and vitality.
[Added 7-22-1997 by Ord. No. 97-299]
Only City employees acting in the performance of their duties or persons in possession of written permission from the City shall enter or remain in or about any vacant building owned or leased by the City. Members of the Rochester Police Department are hereby authorized to remove unauthorized persons and to commence trespass, criminal trespass and/or burglary proceedings against such unauthorized persons on behalf of the City.
[Added 9-25-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-39]
The Corporation Counsel is authorized to grant and accept easements to resolve boundary line title issues, including building encroachments between City-owned parcels and adjacent parcels, and fence encroachments, of three feet or less in width. The Corporation Counsel is further authorized to enter into boundary line agreements and driveway agreements with the owners of parcels adjacent to City-owned parcels. Consideration for said easements and agreements may be set at $1 (payment waived).
[Added 5-16-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-93]
A. 
The City Council deems it to be in the best interests of the City and the public to at times lease City-owned real property to responsible parties when doing so provides a benefit to the City and its residents.
B. 
Consistent with the provisions of § 20 of the General City Law, the Director of Real Estate, subject to approval by the City Council as set forth below, is authorized to lease City-owned real property.
C. 
Pursuant to § 5-29 of the City Charter, no ordinance approving a lease of City-owned real property for a period of one year or longer shall be authorized unless approved by the vote of 3/4 of all the members of the City Council. Leases with terms of one year or less shall be subject to the requirements of § 21-18.
D. 
Any proposed lease with a term of more than one year but no more than 10 years shall require Council approval that:
(1) 
The term of the proposed lease is reasonable and necessary in light of its intended purpose and the public will benefit throughout the term of the lease;
(2) 
If a lease contains options to renew that exceed 10 years, the City Council, by the vote of 3/4 of all the members of the City Council, must approve said renewal or extension no more than 90 days and no less than 30 days prior to the expiration of the lease. Conditions of any options to renew must be set forth in the proposed lease;
(3) 
In addition to customary provisions of default, the proposed lease shall contain a clause providing that the lease will terminate, at the City's option, upon the occurrence of defined "substantial changes" in the use of the leasehold or performance of the lease by the lessee. Enumerated examples of "substantial changes" shall be set forth in each proposed lease, to avoid a material change in the use and intent of the leasehold or the business to which the lease relates;
(4) 
The proposed lease provides for periodic reviews of the use of the leasehold by the Director of Real Estate to determine and ensure compliance on the part of the lessee.
E. 
For proposed leases that exceed 10 years in duration, or $50,000 in annual rent, the City Council shall be required, prior to voting, to:
(1) 
Formally review the appraisal of an independent consultant on the value of the lease;
(2) 
Make an affirmative finding that the proposed lease is in the public interest;
(3) 
Set forth with specificity the public benefit to be derived from the proposed lease.
F. 
No lease of City-owned real property may be transferred, assigned, sublet or materially amended or modified except by approval of City Council in the same manner provided by this section for a new lease. This restriction shall be set forth in all leases subject to this section.