Tenants at a Corktown apartment complex who were told they would have to relocate days before Thanksgiving because of health and safety concerns in their building can remain in their homes after their landlord restored water and heat over the weekend.
An inspector from the city’s Buildings, Safety, Engineering and Environmental Department (BSEED) confirmed on Friday that water had been turned on at the Victor Attar Court apartments on Porter Street, said Jessica Parker, chief enforcement officer for the building department.
The heat was also turned on over the weekend except for five units that are currently using space heaters. Most of the 28 units in the building are occupied and tenants do not have to move out, Parker said this week.
“The residents can stay right now. … I am still working with the owner to get the permanent heating issue resolved because we don’t want tenants using space heaters,” she said.
In total the building’s owner received 22 tickets amounting to $13,142, according to BSEED.
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BSEED notified residents at the Victor Attar apartments last week that if the landlord did not restore heat and water and bring the building up to code they must vacate the property “due to the lack of maintenance and unsafe living conditions,” according to an “intent to vacant” notice tenants received.
There’s been a legal dispute brewing over the building’s 2018 foreclosure and the subsequent redemption period, which is the time after a property’s sale when it can still be reclaimed.
Victor Attar Limited Dividend Housing Association Limited Partnership lost the property to foreclosure and it was bought by the 1324 Porter Street Trust, according to court and Wayne County Register of Deeds records.
Real estate developer Emre Uralli is listed as the trustee of 1324 Porter Street Trust. BSEED issued tickets against Uralli but he said he was unaware of those tickets.
Uralli, who previously owned the old Detroit Free Press building at 321 W. Lafayette and the David Stott tower on 1150 Griswold, and associate Ryan Snoek, maintain that Victor Attar should have made the repairs.
Uralli and Snoek said they didn’t know about heating issues because they didn’t get complaints.
“We met with inspectors. We’re cooperating with them. We’re fixing everything, but the reality is this, we don’t own it,” Uralli told the Free Press Tuesday.
A Wayne County Circuit judge on Nov. 17 ordered that Victor Attar’s right to redeem its property was “wrongfully denied” and that the redemption period can be reinstated.
Nushrat Rahman covers issues related to economic mobility for the Detroit Free Press and Bridge Detroit as a corps member with Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project. Make a tax-deductible contribution to support her work at bit.ly/freepRFA.
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