Ideally, Detroit's courts would continue to pursue owners of blighted property and seize the buildings before they crumble like stale cereal. But thanks to budget cuts for a department with a bit too much to deal with, two non-profits are helping angry residents pursue bad building owners with private "nuisance" lawsuits instead. These "plan B" suits don't pack the punch of a real city suit: a judge can set up a repair timeline and fine owners for not following it but cannot take the building. Nonetheless, it's another weapon in the war on crummy owners now brought to you by the Detroit Crime Commission and Michigan Community Resources. So save that number if your neighbor's roof is going the way of shredded wheat.
Detroit's blight court could see a 51 percent funding cut in the mayor's proposed budget to $657,000, while the law department could see a 55 percent reduction to $8.6 million. Wayne County eliminated a similar blight-fighting program in 2010 that forced absentee owners to fix properties or risk losing them in court, filing more than 800 lawsuits in its last year.
· Detroiters, merchants sue owners of blighted properties [The Detroit News]