Left a Mess

Posted by – Darren Darge, Code Enforcement Officer

When homes are left a mess after a foreclosure, citizens count on us to fix the problem.

Many may know of a particular property located in the 600 block of South Squirrel that has been an eyesore for quite sometime.  The residence sat vacant for years before it went into foreclosure a few months ago leaving overgrown vegetation, downed trees, and debris.  The Good News – we were able to quickly address the problem after the financial institution took possession of the property, as a result of the City’s two-year old Foreclosure Monitoring Program.

Before the Clean Up – “Where’s the House?”

For a little background, the City of Auburn Hills watches foreclosed properties very closely.  The Community Development Department conducts a weekly analysis of ownership transfer documents filed with the Oakland County Register of Deeds and physically inspects every property with a Sheriff Deed filed to verify occupancy and condition.  When a property is confirmed as vacant, it moves from the Sheriff Deed list to the Vacant Foreclosed Property Monitoring list.

A team of City Departments – Community Development, Police, and Public Services jointly monitor the properties on the vacant list to confirm that the homes are secured and no blight issues are occurring such as tall grass, poor property maintenance, illegal dumping, etc.  When a vacant foreclosed property transfers from the financial institution to a new owner, we close the case.

Well, we were able to address the problem at the 600 block of South Squirrel the same week the property officially transferred to the financial institution after the foreclosure was complete.  We put the financial institution on notice that they had 10 days to clean up the site or the City would do it at their expense.  They got the message and acted immediately.  In one week’s time, a maintenance crew was out at the property with two large dumpsters and the mess was voluntarily cleaned up in two days.  City staff met the maintenance crew on site and supervised the job.

After the Clean Up – “Now, That’s Much Better!”

This is just another example of how the City of Auburn Hills works hard to protect and serve its citizens.  City employees coming together with the common goal of keeping our neighborhoods safe and clean.