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Detroit suing three notorious “slumlords” over appalling condition of properties

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The city is trying to force the speculators to bring the homes up to code or prohibit them from doing business in Detroit

Two abandoned homes. They both have missing or boarded up windows and uncut front yards. Shutterstock

The city of Detroit announced yesterday that it’s pursuing lawsuits against three landlords for negligent management of their properties.

In a strongly worded press release, the city said it filed complaints in Wayne County’s 3rd Circuit Court against father and son Steve and Stephen Hagerman of West Bloomfield, Michael Kelly of Grosse Pointe Woods, and Salameh Jaser of Dearborn. The trio collectively own over 1,000 properties in Detroit, many of which are in poor condition and rented out.

The city, which described them as “Detroit’s most notorious speculators and slumlords,” cited lack of lead remediation as a main concern.

“Our lawsuits mark the beginning of a new effort to address the grave danger of lead in Detroit, among other housing related issues,” the city’s corporation counsel Lawrence Garcia said in a release. “They have demonstrated no respect for the safety of the persons living on their land, and their business model presents an unreasonable danger to the renting public in Detroit. Detroit’s citizens deserve better.”

According to the Detroit News, their properties have been cited more than 1,800 times for unsafe conditions, which include cracked ceilings and walls, existence of black mold, faulty plumbing, lack of working heat in the winter, and much more.

The city is hoping to force the property owners to come into compliance with health and building regulations or else “prohibit them from directly or indirectly purchasing or controlling additional properties” in Detroit.

This isn’t the first time the landlords have been in trouble with the law. Stephen Hagerman spent 60 day in jail for failing to keep rental properties up to code. Kelly was recently investigated by WXYZ for owing millions of dollars in unpaid taxes and blight violations. Ironically, the city then forgave $1.1 million in taxes and penalties in exchange for properties near the new Fiat Chrysler plant.