By Hannah Brenner
Lansing Township News Staff Reporter
There are some abandoned homes in Lansing Township, but it doesn’t seem to be as blighted as it used to be. Residents have noticed that the Lansing Township Office is making a sincere effort to take care of those eyesores.
Mike Przedwojewski from Mike’s Auto Care on Rosemary St. in Lansing Township has an abandoned home right across the street from his business. He says he thinks it has had a negative effect on business.
“It’s definitely an eyesore and it brings in the kind of people that nobody wants to live across from,” said Przedwojewski.
He worked with Daniel Richards, Lansing Township code compliance officer, through phone calls and complaints.
“I make some complaints and he was riding on the guy that owned the house and was trying to get it cleaned up,” said Przedwojewski. “He took the steps that needed to be taken to get it demolished.”
The house will be demolished in the near future.
The township office takes complaints very seriously. Township Supervisor Diontrae Hayes speaks very highly of Code Compliance Officer Daniel Richards.
“He is very meticulous about his work and going out to make sure when he does receive a complaint to do a thorough investigation to see what the complainant is discussing, as well as to find out if there is another side from the homeowner or the property owner’s perspective,” said Hayes.
As far as the house that is being demolished on Rosemary Street Hayes said, “In that situation I know he had been working with them for quite a while and this is the end result of that.”
Resident Debbie Chaney has experienced issues as well. Her daughter, also a Lansing Township resident, had two abandoned houses on her street.
Chaney says the abandoned houses nearby, “Hasn’t really done too much,” to the property value.
Realtor Alicia Banks from Lansing RE/MAX has seen varying effects of abandoned homes on property value of nearby houses.
“It depends on how many there are. If there is a single one personally I don’t see a huge difference, but if you start getting into multiple ones, also every neighborhood is so unique so the effects can be really varied,” said Banks.
Zeenat Kotval-Karamchandani, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at Michigan State University in the Urban & Regional Planning Program. She feels that these neglected homes reduce the value relating to the social appeal of the neighborhood for potential home buyers.
“Abandoned houses reduce perceptions of a street. Streets feel abandoned, there is no one and no active life,” said Kotval-Karamchandani. “Without people moving around you lose the social capital that binds a neighborhood.”
While Chaney doesn’t think it has had a negative effect on property value, she has seen other effects. There was a fire in an abandoned house on her daughter’s street last fall. The township reacted swiftly.
“They took it down after that. They tore down two already,” said Chaney.
While the residents, Realtors, and Township office see improvement, the United States Census Bureau shows slightly different results. In 2000, before the housing market crash, the vacancy rate was at 4.9 percent. In 2010, that statistic had gone up to 6.6 percent. The latest census in 2014 lists the vacancy at 10.5 percent for Lansing Township, 1.5 percent higher than in 2010.
RE/MAX Realtor Maggie Garish thinks this is partly attributed to homeowners moving, but not being able to sell their home in the area for what they bought it for.
“They bought the homes in 2008, but have since moved out. A lot of people can afford to own two houses and wait for the market to go back up to sell,” said Gerich.
These vacancies are not as noticeable, because they are well taken care of.
Though some houses cannot be saved because the cost to fix them becomes higher than the value of the home, they are not all beyond repair. Resident Andrew Cox just moved into a home that was fixed up by the government.
“They take houses that people aren’t paying their taxes on and they actually use federal money to build them to sell them, and I bought one of those houses,” said Cox.
He is enjoying his new home and the positive effect it is having on the area.
“I ended up with basically a brand new house,” said Cox. “It’s better to have someone paying taxes in there for a better neighborhood.”
Hayes also strives for those success stories.
“It is really great any time you can turn over a foreclosed property into a viable place where you can have residential tenants come into it. Whether it is a family or an individual who comes in to take ownership over the house, there are some instant improvements that come with that. Typically they put money and maintenance into the outside of the home for lawn care and maintenance, the inside of the home so you can make sure that the structural components of it will not be hazardous not only to them but to surrounding homes. So it’s great any time you can put someone in a foreclosed home in the sense of removing that structure from the tax roll and making it a better place in the community. That’s a plus,” said Hayes.