BUFFALO, N.Y. - The state's top prosecutor paid a visit to Buffalo's University Heights neighborhood on Thursday to announce the details of an agreement to curb "out-of-control" weekend parties near UB South, which have persisted for years despite loud complaints and increased police enforcement.
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat, said at a news conference Thursday afternoon that his office has entered into a "consent decree" with Jeremy Dunn, a "prominent landlord" who owns 51 homes in the neighborhood.
According to Schneiderman, Buffalo police have responded to more than 500 calls at 48 of those 51 homes since 2014, including more than 200 calls last year.
The consent decree will impose strict rules and regulations on the properties and their tenants. The agreement requires tenants to sign rental agreements and obtain occupancy certificates, in addition to prohibiting large parties where alcohol is sold. Violations can result in evictions, according to the consent decree.
"It was like playing Whac-a-Mole, trying to stop these parties one by one," Schneiderman said. "Everyone deserves to live in a safe neighborhood, and Jeremy Dunn was making that impossible. That's why today, I am proud to announce an unprecedented consent decree with Jeremy Dunn to ensure his houses are safe moving ahead."
Jeremy Dunn did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The consent decree gives the Attorney General's Office oversight over the neighborhood. It will monitor situations and work with local law enforcement to ensure the rules of the agreement are being followed.
"We believe this agreement will go a very long way towards restoring the peace and safety that University Heights deserves," Schneiderman said. "We've never seen a situation where one landlord held so much of the property."
Schneiderman also said the consent decree means his office won't have to "start from scratch" in court if a violation occurs.
"Forty-eight out of 51 houses with police complaints-- it's not just a random tenant or two. This was a pattern of neglect and abuse," Schneiderman said. "And that's what made this case so unusual, but also opened the door to this creative solution."