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Lansing officials commit to addressing red-tagged property violations

facade of Lansing City Hall building
Emma Winowiecki

Officials with the city of Lansing say they want to address housing code violations that have recently forced some families to vacate their places of residence.

Last week, city staff placed red tags on all 29 units of an apartment building on Holmes Road run by Simtob Management. That meant the residential property violated city regulations and had been deemed unfit to live in.

Because of the code violations, families in the South Lansing apartment were forced to leave their homes and be relocated to alternative housing. Those tenants are being shifted to apartments owned by the same management company.

Patricia Spitzley, at-large member of Lansing's City Council, said at this week's meeting on Monday that negligence from property owners was the reason for the unsafe conditions and resident displacements, but she also acknowledged the city needs to do more to ensure landlords keep their units up to code.

“What happened last week was a failure to those displaced but also to the residents of this city who count on us to do our jobs,” Spitzley said.

There were 711 red-tagged housing units last month, according to the Code Enforcement Division. About 430 had been in violation of the housing code for more than 90 days.

City Council President Carol Wood said administrators need to hold landlords accountable.

“We know that these houses didn't become tagged overnight," Wood said. "These were ongoing problems that continued to get worse. There were inspections done and landlords that were supposed to have gone back and made corrections. And those things didn't get done.”

Mayor Andy Schor told the council City Hall is taking enforcement of the housing code and the displacement of residents from red-tagged buildings seriously.

“It's a situation where property owners put residents in bad situations, tried to move them into bad situations, and we're going to put the full weight of the city behind this,” Schor said.

Councilmembers are holding a special meeting with administrators next Wednesday to discuss housing code violations and enforcement.

Arjun Thakkar is WKAR's politics and civics reporter.
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