Lansing residents forced to evacuate red-tagged apartments as city files lawsuit

Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 4:48 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 30, 2023 at 10:28 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The city of Lansing has filed a lawsuit against the owner of Holmes Apartments, alleging unsafe living conditions for its tenants.

According to court records, the apartments were not up to code, with water and property damage cited as the main issues. They allege that both the work done and the “omission of work” on the building caused unsafe conditions.

The move comes after residents were forced to vacate the property with only two days’ notice, citing “unsafe and uninhabitable conditions.”

City officials said the property is just the first of many properties that will have charges filed against them. The city’s top priority at this time is cracking down on landlords and property owners as they discover multiple red and pink-tagged apartments with residents still occupying the properties throughout the city.

“Our office is going to take a very aggressive approach on the red tag issue, and we’re going to look at not only these 15 properties where we already have an indication,” said James Smiertka, City of Lansing, City Attorney. “Any other landlord out there, any other owner that believes they can tear off red tags or they can let people occupy without knowledge that there’s a red tag, they’re going to have to take notice of what we are doing today with this lawsuit and what we’re going to do in the future.”

One resident, Rosalyn Williams, said she has experienced her property management tearing off pink and red tags in her apartment. Now that the apartment has been red-tagged by the city again, she was forced to vacate the property and is living out of a hotel.

“All the tags were taken off by the property manager and the maintenance people. My furnace went out on February 24th; it’s still not done. We’re going into six weeks now,” Williams said. “I would dare to say they need to condemn it, but there’s not enough housing in the city.”

Williams said she’s frustrated by the lack of priority from her property management.

“It’s money for you, it’s ‘As long as I get my money - I don’t care,’” Williams said. “‘I don’t care,’ is causing a lot of heartache, a lot of health issues, and a lot of uncertainties in a lot of people’s lives.”

The fire marshal is working closely with the city to get all pink and red-tagged properties inspected.

The lawsuit against Holmes Apartments is expected to be in front of the judge in the next 30 to 45 days.

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