DETROIT (WWJ) – High bidders aren’t taking care of their Detroit auction-won properties, according to some neighbors in East English Village who say they’re sick of doing the grunt work.
“If you give them a fine, they’re not gonna pay it,” said local resident June Berner, who claims no one’s been taking care of the lawns or trimming the hedges in front of two homes that sold on Bishop Street.
“People down there cut the neighbor’s grass. The guy across the street cuts the grass just to keep the neighborhood looking nice so it doesn’t look so crappy,” she said.
Berner told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Kathryn Larson the community has had no choice but to chip in on the yard work to keep up appearances.
“Because people don’t care; they just don’t care,” Berner said. “They want the house, but they don’t want to take care of the outside, and they expect everyone else to.”
Visiting the neighborhood on Tuesday, Larson ran into Joyce Warren, who was picking up trash on her son’s lawn as well as outside the same two still-vacant homes.
“I hate to see…somebody threw a bag of something out — McDonald’s — so I picked it up,” Warren said.
A 55-year-old neighbor said all has been quiet around a two-story bungalow across from his that had been city-owned.
“You know, I mean, the house…they say it’s been sold, but ever since the auction I haven’t seen anyone over there,” he said. “As long as we take care of it — keep the grass cut — you know…it looks pretty good.”
John Roach, a spokesperson Mayor Mike Duggan, said the new homeowners have between six and nine months to do anything to the homes.
“The winning bidders are not responsible for maintaining the property until after the close and when they are the legal owners of the homes,” Roach said in a statement to WWJ.
Rules from the auction say:
• If the purchase price is $20,000 or less, you must close on the property and pay the full amount of the purchase price no later than 60 days after winning the bid.
• If the purchase price is more than $20,000, you must close on the property and pay the full amount of the purchase price no later than 90 days after winning the bid.
Roach said the first homes auctioned just over two months ago sold for more than $30,000.
Mayor Mike Duggan says Detroit’s been “moving aggressively” to sell off city-owned vacant homes. Detroit’s home auction began in May, with a dozen houses currently listed on the city’s new land bank website, BuildingDetroit.org.