Blight Beat: Ypsilanti Township seeks court help in cleanup of 2 hoarder houses with feces issues
Ypsilanti Township is intervening at two homes they say were occupied by hoarders and “barely a square inch” of the floors is not covered with animal feces.
Officials said a 10-year old was living in one home, which hadn’t had running water in over a year and has no operating refrigerator.
Township Building Inspector Ron Fulton said the Maplewood home was brought to the township officials’ attention on July 23 because of its stench and rodent problem.
Upon inspection, officials found a woman in her late 20s living with her 10-year old daughter, three dogs and a cat.
Much of the floor was covered in animal feces. Because the water had been off for a year, the mother and daughter had been using the tub as a toilet, Fulton said.
Fulton said officials also found urine collected in milk jugs on the counter and used toilet tissue piled in the bathroom sink. The home has a severe rodent and insect infestation.
The dogs were removed by the Humane Society of Huron Valley, and the conditions were reported to Washtenaw County Child Protective Services.
A Washtenaw County Circuit Court judge ordered the mother and daughter and their family to cease all entry onto the property, Fulton said.
He said the home is owned by the mother’s parents, but the parents were never allowed to visit. Township officials weren’t sure what happened to the child after protective services was contacted.
Judge Timothy Connors ordered the township to hire a company to clear the property, and the township selected Belfor.
Courtesy of Ypsilanti Township
Township Attorney Doug Winters said the home will likely have to be demolished because of the damage.
Officials found similar conditions at the Clarita address.
Fulton said the township worked with the owners of that home to have it cleared of similar issues around 18 months ago.
Several animals also were living in the home and Fulton said neighbors again began complaining of the stench. Building inspectors found that the owners were allowing the animals to defecate inside the home and were throwing layers of newspaper on top of it.
The sub-flooring is rotting because it is so saturated in animal waste. The owners have at least one unregistered pit bull.
Photos from the home show garbage is piled several feet high on the kitchen counter, and clothes and garbage are strewn about the home, front porch and backyard. It also is infested with rodents, insects and mold.
Fulton said the residents did not give a reason as to why they let the home slip back into unsanitary conditions.
Winters said the homes are among the worst blight cases he has ever seen and said the township’s office of community standards seems to be encountering worse and worse situations.
“People call them hoarder houses, they get a little bit more - it’s filth and junk and blight,” he said. “There’s a difference in living with no refrigeration or running water from hoarding. This is a real serious issue and goes beyond that. It’s like living in a landfill in there. It’s just crazy.”