Bills Look To Add Jail Time To Blight Fees - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Bills Look To Add Jail Time To Blight Fees

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) - Abandoned homes can have a profound effect on a neighborhood, but what can be done about them?

Many home owners and legislators say they have little impact on removing blight from neighborhoods.

"It gets a real stale almost rancid smell coming from it," said Nicole Price, who says little has been done to fix the house next door.

 

"It's only getting worse, that window only busted this past summer, we've taken looks inside and it's just stacked full of stuff in there," she says. "We could see people in there!"

In Lansing, Scott Sanford says code enforcement officers check red tag homes once a month after they've been tagged for 90 days, if improvement has been made, now a fee, running $150 every month until something has been done.

 

"We've taken red tagged properties from about 600 to 700 to about 252 long term red tagged properties," said Sanford. But he says he hopes new legislation will lower that number even more.

"We have very wealthy people buying property and letting them rot. We can't let our cities crumble. We put some real teeth into the law," he said.

Senator Rick Jones says home owners with run down properties may now face criminal charges. "It's not just a ticket that you throw in the drawer and ignore and that was happening all over the state."

If homeowners refuse to pay, they face jail time up to a year behind bars. "If that's what they've got to do to get them to take it down, because all it does is make the neighborhood look bad."

Senator Jones says even though the bills don't cover homes taken over by the bank or foreclosures, he feels it's a good start to cleaning up blight.

The package of bills is now awaiting Governor Snyder's signature.

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