Ypsilanti Township tackles another foreclosed home filled with trash, animal feces
At its Tuesday night meeting, the Township Board of Trustees approved taking legal action against a yet-unknown bank or mortgage company that holds the mortgage to the condo at 2972 Roundtree.
The Roundtree Condo Association alerted the township to the problem after a smell began to emanate from the home, which is attached to several other condos. The condo has been abandoned for at least two years and it appears the residents left all their belongings.
Photos show a variety of bugs, piles of trash and piles of the residents’ belongings. But officials were pleased no live animals were found in this case.
Building inspector Ron Fulton said officials weren't immediately sure which bank owned the house, but a "loss mitigation" company called Trott and Trott was working as an agent for the mortgage holder.
Fulton said inspectors found evidence that the company had come in and filled the toilets and traps with anti-freeze and turned off the utilities so there wouldn’t be any water damage to the property. But they neglected to clean up the piles of debris and animal feces that ultimately affect the quality of life for the neighbors, he said.
“They have no care to preserve value for neighbors’ properties," he said. "They saw to it that their place is not going to leak, then they walked away and they’re content, even with all the problems left for others.”
Township Attorney Doug Winters said there are many more cases of foreclosed homes left deteriorating by banks, but township staff doesn’t want to overload the board and legal department with too many cases at once.
As he has in the past, Winters called on the federal or state government to assist and said there should be criminal charges for burdening local municipalities and taxpayers with cleaning up the messes.
“I don’t see how the township can be the lone wolf out there trying to make these mortgage companies and banks accountable for the messes they’ve left behind,” he said.
He suggested meeting with other municipalities facing similar issues and figuring out a solution.
Officials will seek a court order allowing them to clean the Roundtree property if the mortgage holder fails to do so. The clean-up would be done at taxpayer expense and a lein placed on property so when it is purchased, the township and taxpayers would be reimbursed.
“Unfortunately, we see too many cases like this,” Fulton said. “We are obviously trying to get on top of it as fast as we can and these cases come to us frequently. But if anyone knows about an abandoned or foreclosed home, we sure want to know about it so we can address any issues before they get out of hand.”