A PLAN TO PROTECT VACANT PROPERTIES
- Maintain a continuously updated database of
- Determine the name of the owner of the
property for inclusion in the database. Use
websites, title searches, local realtors and
neighbors to obtain and verify this information.
- When a home is represented by a realtor,
determine the name of the realtor for inclusion
in the database.
- Build relationships with city and county
official who can help us.
Buildings and Safety Engineering: Amru Meah,
Director; Michael Taylor and Steven Leggat,
Chiefs of Enforcement.
- Department of Administrative Hearings.
- Wayne County Nuisance Abatement Program:
Michael Russell, Director. For investigation of
blighted properties. Under this program, a
court awards title to Wayne County as last
resort if owner does not maintain property.
- Community Relations officers at Western
District Police Precinct.
- Engage contractors to mow lawns, rake leaves,
shovel snow and clean up around vacant properties.
- We recently applied for a grant from
Community Legal Resources, Community and
Property Preservation Program (CAPPP) to pay for
these services, but did not get it. We should
continue to explore grant opportunities.
- In the meantime, we must authorize
expenditure from Sherwood Forest Association (SFA)
budget or seek neighborhood volunteers.
- Designate a resident to secure, oversee and
- Keep homes secure and up to code. If absent
owners and/or realtors have been contacted but are
refusing to care for properties, we should:
- Report properties to B&SE to investigate for
building code violations and to issue correction
orders and tickets. Where homes are open to
trespass, contact Susan McBride of Detroit
Historic District Commission. She will contact
B&SE directly to have these homes boarded up. A
lien will be placed on the property for the cost
of boarding up. A resident must be designated to
track status of such complaints.
- Report uncut grass and other environmental
problems to Western District Community Relations
officers for ticketing. Again, someone must
track status of complaints.
- Report homes that are open and dangerous to
the Wayne County Nuisance Abatement Program for
investigation and possible seizure. Track
status of complaints.
- Consider boarding up or replacing windows or
installing locks at neighborhood expense. Form
a small “fix up” team consisting of neighborhood
- Develop a system of home monitors and designate
one person to act as chief monitor.
- A home monitor is a neighbor who is assigned
a vacant home near his or her own home. He or
she agrees to be the person who cuts and rakes
the lawn, shovels the snow, picks up papers and
debris and otherwise works to make the house
look occupied in the event that we are unable to
hire a contractor to do this work. If a
contractor is doing the work, the monitor makes
sure that the work is being done in a timely
- The home monitor reports to the chief
monitor any changes in the condition of the
vacant home. This includes deterioration,
break-ins, thefts and reoccupations (both legal
- The home monitor reports to the chief
monitor any new vacancies that occur on the
- The chief monitor designs a procedure
whereby all residents are encouraged to report
to her/him any new vacancies or changes in the
status of vacant properties.
- Encourage residents to use our new email address
to report on vacant homes,
NOTE: We recognize that many of our residents
already have assumed informally the role of home
monitor. We must formalize the process to make sure
that every home is covered and that the SFA is getting
up-to-date information on the status of our vacant
- Use our private patrol service to assist us in
monitoring vacant homes.
- Make sure the drivers have a current list of
vacant homes and give priority attention to
those homes as they make their rounds.
- Ask drivers to report to the police and the
chief monitor any suspicious activities at
vacant homes and report to the chief monitor any
change in status at vacant homes.