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Posted on Tue, Oct 4, 2011 : 2:45 p.m.

Ypsilanti Township officials say bank-owned home poses serious health risks

By Tom Perkins

Ypsilanti Township officials are preparing to take legal action against a Texas-based bank that has allowed a home it owns through foreclosure to deteriorate and pose a serious health risk to neighbors.

Among other issues are cockroach and mold infestations that have begun to affect neighbors.

According to Mike Radzik, director of the township’s office of community standards, the home once was owned and rented to tenants before it was foreclosed on in 2010.

Water at the home wasn’t shut off when the tenants moved out, and in December 2010 a pipe burst and flooded the basement. That eventually led to a serious mold infestation as the home, which is at 1416 Blossom, sat neglected throughout 2011.


1416 Blossom

Tom Perkins | For

The home also became infested with cockroaches and remains filled with the previous tenants' belongings. Once the weather warmed up in the spring, a neighbor reported to the township that once he couldn’t sit out on his porch because of the intense odor from the mold.

The neighbor also said his home became infested with cockroaches. An exterminator who visited the neighbor’s home said the source of the cockroach problem was the house at 1416 Blossom.

The township has since placarded the home as unfit for occupancy and condemned it. Township officials contacted the real estate agent selling the home on behalf of The Bank of New York Mellon, which is based in Plano, Texas. Radzik said the agent was helpful but couldn’t get the bank to respond to his requests to have a crew sent to the property to clean it up.

The home has been registered as a rental property since 2008 but wasn’t in the area in which the township was piloting its rental inspection program at the time. The program has since been expanded township-wide, but officials didn’t yet have a chance to inspect the property, Radzik said.

Officials also haven’t been able to enter the house to fully assess it yet because they don’t have right-of-entry. A building inspector was able to take pictures through the window and see that there were significant issues.

Should the bank fail to respond the township, officials then may take emergency action as early as this week. Radzik said the township will use industrial strength power cleaners to remove the mold. In an extreme case, the township was forced to burn a home covered in mold in 2009.

“If the bank is not responding to its own realtor, then I’m not sure how much luck we’ll have,” Radzik said, adding that the department will have to figure where to draw resources to address the problem.

He said banks failing to maintain foreclosed properties in the township is nothing new.

“It happens quite often and is a big problem,” he said. “We are actually drafting a new ordinance regarding vacant properties that will attempt to better address this situation."



Wed, Oct 5, 2011 : 1:03 p.m.

Another abandoned house. They are frequent in Detroit. They should put the wrecking ball and incinerate the place.

Jimmy McNulty

Wed, Oct 5, 2011 : 11:54 a.m.

I say document the contact attempts with the bank and proceed with cleaning it up OR tearing it down. Then place a lien on the property.


Wed, Oct 5, 2011 : 11:38 a.m.

Am I the only one who thinks this series of articles (liberty square etc) is some sort of PR campaign on the part of the Township to make it seem like they are cleaning up their mess? Because I do and I am unimpressed. One house? One Coop/Condo complex? Has the leadership in the Township ever even driven through the apartment complexes across Clark from St. Joes? any code inspection at all? (you know, those areas where none of the leadership lives?) Have they ever driven through the non-west willow but east of Ypsi city limits areas? at all? From the street these places are clearly not in compliance with even the most basic codes and don't even get me started about "living conditions" and their "community standards" ordinances. One house? One Coop/Condo Complex? Really?


Wed, Oct 5, 2011 : 12:44 a.m.

seems like the ypsi twp union staff and attorneys are slow on work with no development, you dont see ann arbor taking blighted properties to court.


Tue, Oct 4, 2011 : 10:34 p.m.

Tom Perkins .....I'm betting this house is on a basement. I'm also betting I don't want it for FREE. If the bank operates like this we need corrective ACTION....NOW!

Linda Cadotte

Tue, Oct 4, 2011 : 8:56 p.m.

This is a country wide problem. We live between Brighton and Pinckney. There's a house two doors down from us that has been empty since 2008. Same thing happened the first winter when the water pipes burst and water was gushing out of the lower walkout level. Nothing was done except to turn off the water and now after almost 3 years there's mold growing on the outside of the house. I can't imagine what the inside looks like and the house isn't that old. All it does is drive down our home value which we've lived in for 22 years and it looks better today than when we bought it new back in 1989. A real crying shame what the banks have done to the housing market.


Wed, Oct 5, 2011 : 1:50 a.m.

I'm really familiar by now Mike with the meme that Barney Frank and Chris Dodd brought down the world. I hear it over and over on every comment section on every news source I ever read. What NO ONE EVER MENTIONS was how George W. Bush went on TV repeatedly and said we are an ownership society, and we all want ownership, and we'll all be better off if we have ownership, and he wanted everybody to own homes, and property, and stock, and so on. The onslaught from the bully pulpit was relentless. And people bought into his "boundless confidence" in the "free market." So here we are. Barney Frank isn't Darth Vader. He didn't sign bogus loans for people less than creditworthy. This crap was pushed on us night and day for years and years on talk radio and TV on both the left and right for years.


Tue, Oct 4, 2011 : 9:35 p.m.

The banks were required by the federal government (i.e. Barney Frank (D) and Chris Dodd (D) under legislation they sponsored to lower the lending standards and give almost anyone with a heartbeat a mortgage, many time unsustantiated. Then greed kicked in as the market was driven higher artificially due to all of the demand created by the banks loaning to anyone. The responsible home buyers are now stuck with houses that they are upside down in while others walked away leaving abandoned propeties everywhere. The government officials have deflected all blame and will collect their pensions on our dime while we bail out their bankong buddies and pay the tab for all of this social engineering. Home ownership is not a right, either is health care, college, or a free car. And yet there are many who want the government to spend even more and create rules to give them things like that. It didn't work out so well for the Soviet Union and isn't working out too well for Greece.


Tue, Oct 4, 2011 : 8:35 p.m.

How come the city just dont shut it down, burn the home and the roaches instead of letting disease pass to the inocent


Tue, Oct 4, 2011 : 9:50 p.m.

Kitty..That's in the township not the city


Tue, Oct 4, 2011 : 8:34 p.m.

Pack it up and ship it to Texas - drop it on the banks doorstep. This is a prime example of the buying and selling of homes and mortgages - its not in the banks back yard so they could care less.


Tue, Oct 4, 2011 : 8:28 p.m.

More signs of the "Economic Recovery," I know who I am not Voting for this November and November 2012!


Tue, Oct 4, 2011 : 10:37 p.m.

That's two of us....and I didn't vote for ...... Last time


Tue, Oct 4, 2011 : 9:48 p.m.

xmo..I'm not a fan or supporter of you know who.But that area has been going down hill for YEARS.Blaming him for the on going problems there is like the people who blame Synder for every problem we have now.Sorry but unlike may people I can put politics aside and not point the finger at anyone inparticular ( spell check says it can't help )


Tue, Oct 4, 2011 : 7:44 p.m.

Same scenario happened to a house last year in our neighborhood on Shady Lane in Ann Arbor. The frozen pipes burst after the bank took it over and since it was on a slab and then closed up for the whole summer, there was mold and mushrooms growing on the walls and in the carpet. All the wood was warped and cabinetry ruined. The house was demolished this past spring. The place is now just an empty lot. At least we didn't have the cockroach problem.


Tue, Oct 4, 2011 : 7:20 p.m.

"Radzik said the agent was helpful but couldn't get the bank to respond to his requests to have a crew sent to the property to clean it up. " So.....what exactly did the agent "help" with? Directions to Starbucks?

Steve in MI

Tue, Oct 4, 2011 : 7:37 p.m.

Most likely, the agent provided the township with the owner's identity and contact information -- something that they're not always required (or willing) to do. Real estate agents have contracted right to enter the home for showings to potential buyers; they don't necessarily have the right to offer entry to the home to township officials without the seller's explicit permission. It sounds like everyone EXCEPT the bank is doing their job here. And the township is right to pursue a more vigorous abandoned properties ordinance; if this one doesn't fit the bill, then the ordinance is clearly inadequate.


Tue, Oct 4, 2011 : 6:57 p.m.

Frankly, the bar for calling a residence a "tear down" should be lowered significantly. This house is almost worthless given the cost to recondition - the lot is likely worth more with the house removed. Townships should be quicker to condemn knock down these types of homes that are 1. bank owned and 2. completely unlivable. They just end up harming the neighborhood.


Tue, Oct 4, 2011 : 10:39 p.m.

After they pay BELFOUR will be a negative gain for the Township !