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Posted on Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 5:59 a.m.

Ypsilanti Township prepares legal action against bank-owned home draining police resources

By Tom Perkins


Crime has become an issue at a foreclosed Bunton Street home owned by an unresponsive lender.

Tom Perkins | For

Ypsilanti Township officials are targeting another bank-owned foreclosed property, and they say the latest is illegally occupied by known prostitutes, drug dealers and other criminals.

The home, at 6360 Bunton St., is a single-family residence that the former owner illegally converted into a multiple-unit apartment complex. The owner also converted a pole barn behind the home into apartments, and his tenants are using significant Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office resources, officials say.

Mike Radzik, director of the township’s office of community standards, said law enforcement officials are familiar with some of the people who live there. Township attorney Doug Winters said deputies have been dispatched to the apartments 29 times in recent months.

Because the property is now in a redemption period and will soon be owned by Freddie Mac, officials aren’t sure whether the tenants are still paying rent or if they are illegally squatting.

The former owner bought the property several years ago and illegally converted a front building without receiving the necessary township approval for doing so. He also modified half a pull barn behind that building without proper approval and failed to perform required foundation work.

Township officials were alerted to the situation after neighbors began complaining about crime and prostitution issues. Radzik said township officials met with the owner, and he walked away from the property after he was informed of the long list of zoning, maintenance and code violations that needed to be addressed.

The property is in its redemption period, but Freddie Mac is not taking action or responding to township correspondence. At its Tuesday meeting, the Township Board of Trustees authorized staff and attorneys to take legal action.

Radzik said the township is asking a Washtenaw County Circuit Court judge to grant the township permission to remove residents from the home and secure the property. Anyone now living there who needs relocation assistance will be helped, he said. In the meantime, Radzik said, deputies are continuing to monitor the area.

Winters said the issues again lead back to the bank's and federal government's failure to address issues.

“The problem illustrates the neglect at the federal level by allowing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to do nothing,” Winters said. “They own the property now; they could step in and accelerate the redemption period,”

“Again, you have the federal government sitting there with their arms folded and legs crossed just not caring what's going on in local communities. It’s frustrating.”


Stephen Lange Ranzini

Tue, Nov 15, 2011 : 12:58 a.m.

@15crown00: Actually if Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae are doing something wrong and are not responsive you should contact their regulator, which is FHFA (Federal Housing Finance Agency).


Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 9:51 p.m.

if Freddie Mac refuses to do it's job your congressman should be notified to deal with them.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 7:35 p.m.

@Fatkitty wrote: "Give the tenants (presumed illegal)/squatters one week to vacate. At the end of that one week, start bulldozing and send the bill to the 'owner'." That "owner" would be us, the taxpayers. Just add it to the tab! FHFA estimated on Oct 28, 2011 that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will need between $220 billion and $311 billion from the American people when all is said and done. One further error in the article is that Freddie Mac doesn't "service" it's own loans. They are *always* serviced by the entity that originated the loan (unless they sell the "servicing" to another Freddie Mac lender). The "servicer" handles everything including routine monthly payments, workout if the mortgage becomes delinquent, and the foreclosure and sale of the property after. So, calling up Freddie Mac is useless as they are the wrong party. What the reporter should have done, was NAME THE SERVICER who is being unresponsive to the township officials (or are they calling the wrong people?) I'd guess the servicer of this loan is a "mortgage banking" entity or a "mega bank" and not a "community bank". So, again Freddie Mac's name is being tarnished by the reporter and it isn't their fault. Note for @jns131: I totally agree that bankrupt government agencies losing billions of dollars per quarter shouldn't be giving out million dollar bonuses (!) and agree that Congress needs to reel them in. But that's a different issue not relevant to the article/issue at hand.


Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 5:21 p.m.

"...they could step in and accelerate the redemption period," Quick, Fannie Man, to the Acceleration-Period-Mobile! Yes, it's Fannie Man and Freddie Boy, zooming across the country to right, um, bureaucratic delays, I guess ... Oh, all right, it won't work as a comic book. How about a reality TV show?


Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 4:19 p.m.

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are not government agencies. The foreclosing attorneys are the contact point to reach the foreclosing party. If the property is not abandoned, redemption cannot be accellerated. Regardless of whether rent is being paid or not, proper eviction proceedings must occur to secure possession of the property. Perhaps it would be better to not report on topics at all rather than misinform the public.


Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 3:30 p.m.

This is complex - with so many parties and different laws and ordinances, this is not easy to follow nor is there a simple solution ... But WOW - did the commenters on these pages do their homework and contribute to this story or what? I would have hoped the author would have called in some experts in the field (or at least people in the industry) to give context and fact check the story - but the only sources I read were township folk. This is a HUGE story and could do a great service to fully investigate these stories and expand on them (and spend less time on the bogus, non-stories that permeate these pages) and perhaps your rep will improve but right now, i learned more from the comments section -- that is not good.


Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 3:05 p.m.

In the second paragraph, there is a statement about illegal activities by the "owner". What is your documentation or source for this statement? C'mon fess up...OurYankeeLady seems to have dug up some information that you should have before producing these statements.


Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 2:44 p.m.

I'm no fan of slumlords, but kudos to the readers here that actually did investigative work to show how pathetic the articles in have become. I recall the 5W's (who, what, when where, why) used to be required in reporting. Today, it looks like we just get a blog post that requires not much more than regurgitating what officials tell someone.


Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 2:28 p.m.

The Ann Arbor news needs to do some research before printing these articles and print the other side. Banks and Realtors need to be very careful when it comes to taking possession of homes in the redemption period. In fact, there are several Judges in Southeastern Michigan that have threatened to lock the Realtors and Bank officals up for taking possession of the home during the redemption period, even if it is vacant and abandoned. If the bank's fail to take care of the property after the redemption period then the Township has a valid argument. The Township should be working towards getting the laws changed that allow such a long redemption period, not acting as if they are doing their job by blaming the banks.


Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 2:20 p.m.

Give the tenants (presumed illegal)/squatters one week to vacate. At the end of that one week, start bulldozing and send the bill to the "owner".

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 2:19 p.m.

"Ypsilanti Township prepares legal action against BANK-owned home draining police resources" This headline is grossly defamatory to "banks". Freddie Mac is not a "bank". It is an agency of the U.S. Federal Government. "Banks" are very tired with lazy journalists running our (formerly) good name through the mud by calling Wall Street "Investment Banks", "Mortgage Banking entities", and now even bankrupt Government Agencies "banks"! The headline ought to read: "Ypsilanti Township prepares legal action against government-owned home draining police resources"

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 3:13 p.m.

@jns131: Please see my comment to @Fatkitty below.


Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 2:50 p.m.

I just read that the feds are trying to prevent the CEO's of Freddie and Fannie from getting their million dollar bonuses. How sad is that when this company is here to help not prevent. This article does not surprise me in the least.


Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 1:53 p.m.

Yes, back again after a short detour to Ypsi Twp records. Wow, where to begin. 1. "The former owner bought the property several years ago and illegally converted without alerting the township to receive any kind of approval or permits." WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. shame on you. Check your public records. The former owner bought this 11 years ago. The property is zoned R-4 residential, meaning up to 4 units are allowed. The owner applied for 3 building permits in 2001 to split electrical into 2 duplexs (that 4 units) and for 2 furnaces identified as going into apts 2 and 4. The building info clearly identies this house as a 4 unit. The township was absolutely alerted and there seems to be nothing illegal about this conversion. The owner paid his outrageously high property taxes on time for over 11 years. The twp has recently instituted a certificate of occupancy program on rentals with ridiculously high standards compared to neighboring municipalities. Be prepared for other landlords, who were good and law-abiding residents by previous standards, to walk away from their properties because they simply cannot afford to comply and pay the mortgage on their underwater properties.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 4:24 p.m.

Coming in late - But, have you ever had to get a final inspection and approval? In Ann Arbor at least, this can be very difficult with the inspector repeatedly not showing up and/or not communicating change of plans.....I would not be surprised by an owner who finally "threw up his hands and walked away."


Tue, Nov 15, 2011 : 8:02 p.m.

@Tom Perkins: thanks for following up on comments so diligently. I really appreciate the effort you go to to update stories and correct errors. Thank you!

Tom Perkins

Tue, Nov 15, 2011 : 1:06 p.m.

That's what was meant, DonBee. The response was entered at the end of a long day.


Tue, Nov 15, 2011 : 4:23 a.m.

Mr Perkins - What is a "Pull" barn? Do you by chance mean a "Pole" barn where the frame of the barn is made with vertical poles and then skinned on the outside, as opposed to as a frame structure or a timber framed structure?

Tom Perkins

Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 11:23 p.m.

@OurYankeeLady The story has been updated to clarify that the owner also modified a pull barn that is on the property to include an apartment. He did not do the required foundation work and was never issued any permits for the barn, according to Ron Fulton, Ypsilanti Township's building inspector. Fulton said the owner did apply for some of the permits for the front building but never received a final inspection and never completed the approval process. Fulton said the owner acknowledged to the township that he never completed the process and "threw up his hands and walked away." The owner told the township he was going to evict the current tenants, but it appears they haven't left.

Stupid Hick

Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 6:21 p.m.

I have an impression that doesn't have resources to hire professional journalists and editors. I can't be too critical though, because the site is better than nothing.


Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 1:50 p.m.

In this picture.. there is obvious signs of people living there.. the light is on,, and dish is connected. Curtains on the windows.. I wonder if the township is trying to get a jump on the paper work so when the redemption period is over the paper work is already in the works as they say... I'm just saying.. since i havent a clue

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 1:24 p.m.

@OurYankeeLady's comments: Amen! I've talked to many community bank CEOs about the problem with the length of the redemption period following foreclosure and none of them have ever had a property redeemed either. I am only aware of one successful redemption and that was an unique case where our bank as an effort at charity lent an elderly lady about to lose her home for $2,500 the money to redeem. She had made 29 years and 11 months of payments on a 30 year mortgage and having finished her coupon book, didn't realize that she had to call her bank for the final payment amount and mail that in, too. By coincidence, that same month her loan was sold to a new lender. She ignored the new lender's letters to pay $250 to close out the mortgage and they ran up a $2,000 legal bill foreclosing on her. We got her the new loan in 3 days (a record) by pulling in every favor we could. $2,500 is one thing on a $60,000 house, but unlike this very unique case, if someone has been unable to pay the mortgage payment for a year they aren't suddenly going to get their hands on the money to bring the loan current and make one or two years worth of payments!

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 1:43 p.m.

I forgot to explain why the $2,500 loan was a charity effort. She was living a very simple life on social security and unable to afford the payment (her husband had died just prior to the time she stopped making the mortgage payments). We waived all costs to make the loan, which cost us about $2,500 including all the time we invested. In the end we got lucky and the loan was paid in full. We saved her home by getting a $10,000 grant from MSHDA to pay off our mortgage and bring the delinquent property taxes current (we made her the loan despite the fact that she hand't paid any property taxes since her husband had died). MSHDA made her the grant because she had a 14 year old granddaughter living with her (the Mom, a crack head, had run off), and they have a grant program ($10,000 is the max) to prevent people with kids at home from losing their home and ending up on the street.


Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 1:08 p.m.

"Township attorney Doug Winters said deputies have been dispatched to the apartments 29 times in recent months." What is it that the deputies do when they arrive? Looks like a situation where there is no law being broken that someone can be brought in for trespass. Why go out?

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 12:38 p.m.

"The problem illustrates the neglect at the federal level by allowing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to do nothing," Winters said. "They own the property now; they could step in and accelerate the redemption period," I am not sure this is accurate. The redemption period cannot be terminated early unless the property is abandoned. The courts usually interpret that to mean, that the property must be vacant, no tenants. I think this is a case of blaming the victim, Freddie Mac! The foreclosure law in Michigan is unlike any other nationwide in that the redemption period after foreclosure is six months (or a year if the home is situated on more than 3 acres). The longest redemption period in any other state is 60 days and most are 30-45 days. In 23 years that I've been the head of our banking organization, I've never had a single property redeemed and on the other hand have frequently taken possession of homes that looked like a war zone. The redemption period in Michigan in current law ought to be shortened, as it hurts neighborhoods when homes go to weed like this home here or are destroyed through neglect.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 8:18 p.m.

@OurYankeeLady, I believe that if this is five or more &quot;units&quot; (a unit is a &quot;rental unit&quot;) the redemption period is one year. If the acreage is *exactly* 3 acres and not at least 4 units, then the redemption period here would be six months. The text of the statute, from: <a href="" rel='nofollow'>;objectName=mcl-600-3240</a> &quot;(7) For a mortgage executed on or after January 1, 1965, on commercial or industrial property, or multifamily residential property in excess of 4 units, the redemption period is 6 months from the date of the sale. (8) Subject to subsections (9) to (11), for a mortgage executed on or after January 1, 1965, on residential property not exceeding 4 units and not more than 3 acres in size, if the amount claimed to be due on the mortgage at the date of the notice of foreclosure is more than 66-2/3% of the original indebtedness secured by the mortgage, the redemption period is 6 months. (9) Subject to subsection (10), for a mortgage on residential property not exceeding 4 units, if the property is abandoned as determined under section 3241, the redemption period is 3 months. (10) For a mortgage on residential property not exceeding 4 units, if the amount claimed to be due on the mortgage at the date of the notice of foreclosure is more than 66-2/3% of the original indebtedness secured by the mortgage and the property is abandoned as determined under section 3241, the redemption period is 1 month. (11) If the property is abandoned as determined under section 3241a, the redemption period is 30 days or until the time to provide the notice required by section 3241a(c) expires, whichever is later. (12) If subsections (7) to (11) do not apply, the redemption period is 1 year from the date of the sale.&quot;


Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 2:02 p.m.

Thank Mr. Razini. This property is on 3 acres exactly. Does that mean this qualifies for a 12 month right of redemption or does it have to be more than 3 acres? Also, before the crash of 2006 homeowners did occassionly exercise their right of redemption. I personally bought a house from the owner on the last day of redemption. My title company drove the check to Southfield to deliver it to the attorney representing the bank that bought the Sheriff's deed.


Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 12:36 p.m.

As a local real estate broker who has worked for Fannie Mae as an approved vendor of their foreclosed properties I must correct several errors in this article. 1. There is nothing Fannie Mae can do at this point. They may have bought this property at the Sheriff's sale but if it is still in the redemption period they cannot enter the property. 2. To accelerate the redemption period the property must be &quot;abandoned&quot;, otherwise known as vacant. 3. It makes no difference to the law if the people living at the property pay rent, are squatters or are suspected prostitutes or drug-dealers. They live there and they are covered by the same tenants rights as anyone else. They are entitled to the full eviction process that begins when the redemption period ends. 4. The underlying mortgage holder is in no way responsible when a homeowner violates a local ordinance, (Can you even imagine if your neighbor called your mortgage company because you left your garbage can at the curb for longer than 24 hours, in violation of our ordinance? Of course not. The proper authority would be the local police or ordinance officer.) 5. The party responsible is still the owner who is in redemption. He still has possession. You can ticket him. You may even be able to force him to begin evictions now. But you cannot hold Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac or the federal government liable for this local problem. 6. This looks and feels like the township grandstanding to placate upset neighbors and constituants without really digging in and looking at what can be done today. We used to call it &quot;passing the buck&quot;


Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 2:34 p.m.

Excellent piece , but Winters and McClain will not get paid for your excellent information. That may have saved the township tens of thousands of dollars .

The Picker

Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 12:33 p.m.

Do you have a picture of the gov't sitting there with their arms folded and legs crossed? I picture Obama as Buddha!

The Picker

Tue, Nov 15, 2011 : 1:17 p.m.

What do you picture when you hear the federal gov't is sitting there with arms folded and legs crossed? Is Obama not the face of government?


Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 7:30 p.m.

If you think there are problems in Washington now, those problems would be 20 times worse if an ignorant know-nothing like Sarah Pallin had become vice president and muddled the government in the way she she muddled her own highly dysfunctional family.

Elaine F. Owsley

Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 1:25 p.m.

There are many levels of government before you reach Obama. Someone much lower down should have responded. Do you honestly believe that the President spends his time worrying about prostitutes in Ypsilanti Township? You need another course in American Government.


Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 11:45 a.m.

If this property was illegally remodeled into apartments, why was it not closed not immediately. I am beginning to believe individuals do not know the definition of illegal.


Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 1:57 p.m.

That was an error. Township records show this was not illegally converted. It is zoned for and the township consented to this conversion by issuing permits in 2001.

dading dont delete me bro

Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 11:58 a.m.

no, they live there.

Les Gov

Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 11:44 a.m.

wait...wait....let me see if I understand this....1) &quot;The former owner bought the property several years ago and illegally converted it without alerting the township to receive any kind of approval or permits.&quot; If the former owner illegally converted the property does anyone believe he got approval from Freddie Mac to convert the property? Most mortgages don't allow you to convert the property. 2) &quot;Winters said the issues again lead back to the bank's and federal government's failure to address issues.&quot;...I mean come on.....what is Doug Winters thinking? In this case Freddie Mac is the victim. Or is Doug Winters suggesting that banks search everyone's homes on a monthly basis to make sure they haven't converted the homes illegally? Boy I'm sure everyone would just love to open their homes to bank inspectors every month.... The failure here belongs to Mike Radzik, the Twp, and the Sheriff's department for letting a criminal walk away and for letting criminals to remain free. If the Sheriff knows that the property is &quot;occupied by known prostitutes, drug dealers and other criminals&quot; why hasn't the Sheriff locked them up? Just amazing how Winters wants his name in the press so he is going to blame the banks instead of the real criminal here.