Ypsilanti Township officials say bank-owned home poses serious health risks
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.
Tom Perkins | For AnnArbor.com
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."