Because a small group of Brockport’s most notorious slumlords had collected 88% of the signatures on the dissolution petition, five residents of the village decided to find out how big the student rental business really is in Brockport. They pooled their talents, did their research, and discovered that renting to college students in Brockport is a multi-million dollar business.
To start the ball rolling, one resident submitted a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request to the Sweden Town Assessor to obtain a list of all the rental properties in the Village of Brockport. The property list supplied by the Assessor included the property address, the name and address of the property owner, the property classification (single-family, two-family, apartment house, rooming house, etc.), the number of units in the rental house (upper & lower, apartment 1, apartment #2, etc.), and the number of occupants.
Renting to college students in Brockport is a multi-million dollar business.
The five Brockport residents used three different sources that listed the number of rental units and the number of bedrooms in each rental property:
- The Rental Registration Forms that each landlord is required by law to submit to the Village.
- The Real Property Portal published by Monroe County.
- A rental property list supplied by the Sweden Town Assessor.
But none of the three sources was comprehensive. Many of the Rental Registration Forms were incomplete and did not list the “Total Number of Tenants Occupying” each rental unit. Some of the landlords just left that section blank, and for some reason the Village employees who took the forms didn’t do anything about it, even though there is a warning on the form that the information on the form must be “accurate and complete.” For example, Fred Webster did not bother to list the number of tenants on the Rental Registration form he submitted for the student rental he owns at 15 Maxon Street.
The information on the Real Property Portal published by Monroe County was also incomplete. For example, it does not list the number of bedrooms in the rental property at 22 Maxon Street even though that property is classified as a commercial property (class 418 – inn/lodge). However, the rental property list supplied by the Sweden Town Assessor indicates that there are 7 bedrooms in that house and that maximum number of occupants is 8. So it was possible to estimate how many students live in that house.
The rental property list supplied by the Sweden Town Assessor was the most comprehensive of the three sources, but it also was not complete. For example, it did not list any bedrooms for the rental property at 126 Holley Street, even though the Rental Registration Form and the Real Property Portal published by Monroe County both list that house as having 4 bedrooms. So it was also possible to estimate how many students live in that house.
There were only three rental properties on the rental property list from the Assessor where none of the sources listed the number of bedrooms. One of them was still assessed as a single-family house (class 210) and the other two were still assessed as two-family houses (class 220). However, a drive by both of the properties showed that there were tenants living in both of them, so it was assumed that each of these rental properties had 3 tenants. That is a pretty conservative estimate.
The five Brockport residents also had two sources of information they could use to calculate the income the landlords receive per unit. In his ads on the Internet, one college landlord had posted the rent he charges each tenant is $2,000 rent per semester ($4,000 a school year). But one of the five residents had proof that other landlords charge much more. She had purchased a house that used to be owned by a notorious slumlord, who had been run out of town because of his transgressions, and she found many rent receipts that clearly showed that the former owner had charged each student tenant $3,000 per semester ($6,000 a school year). That is the same amount that some former tenants report that Norm Giancursio charges in the 19 student rental properties he owns in Brockport.
So the people crunching the numbers took a conservative approach, split the difference between their two verifiable sources, and used the average figure of $2,500 per semester ($5,000 per school year) to calculate the annual income the landlords receive from their student rental properties.
According to the updated rental property list supplied by the Sweden Town Assessor, there are 368 rental properties in Brockport and those rental properties contain a minimum of 1,960 bedrooms. At an average rent of $5,000 per school year, that means the college landlords in Brockport have a gross income of $9,800,000 a year. That’s 9.8 million dollars!
College landlords in Brockport have a gross income of $9.8million a year
So any way you look at it, the student rental business in Brockport is a multi-million dollar business. And like many other multi-million dollar business, they don’t want their profits reduced because of government regulations. That’s why the slumlords are trying to dissolve the village. They think their profits will increase if there is no Brockport Police Department and no effective code enforcement.
Keep that in mind when it comes time to vote on dissolution. The slumlords who want to dissolve the village run a multi-million dollar business, and they don’t care what happens to your property values, and they don’t care that the crime rate will go up if the Village is dissolved. All they care about is their profit margin.