LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The City of Lansing has announced that it plans to sue a company in charge of multiple apartment complexes in town.
Simtob Management has been the subject of several stories where residents complained about poor conditions, such as failing heat and ceilings that are falling apart.
The lawsuit comes a week after the city condemned Holmes Apartments, one of Simtob Management’s properties.
When residents moved into their replacement apartments, they discovered that they were in fact pink-tagged, and then they were forced to go to a hotel.
But instead of the company paying for the hotel stays, it was actually the City of Lansing that has been paying this whole time.
Now the city is taking Simtob Management to court, seeking at least $25,000 in compensation for the hotel stays.
Lansing is also asking Simtob Management to change locks on all units at Holmes Apartments and to fix the damages on the building within 45 days.
“Get the repairs done have the city come in and inspect do everything and let’s go home,” said Ashley Ellis, one of the residents stuck in a hotel.
Ellis has been at the hotel since Friday and said she had no idea that her landlords weren’t paying the bill.
Not only are people stuck in hotels for the foreseeable future, but Ellis said they have received no help from the management company when it comes to food. But thanks to government-funded programs, they won’t go hungry
The lawsuit is the City’s effort to recover money spent on hotels for displaced residents.
“Asking for recovery of damages so that we can cover the cost of displacement of the tenants and any other work that goes on there. So we want the injunction we want the place padlocked and we want the place repaired,” said Jim Smiertka, the attorney representing the City of Lansing.
The city is asking for at least $25,000. Smiertka said the lawsuit should serve as a warning to any bad landlords in Lansing.
“We decided, in this case, we need to send a message because this a big problem throughout the city,” continued Smiertka. “We are now going to be utilizing the circuit court. So yes, residents can expect us to be very aggressive on red-tagged properties.”
In an interview on Monday, Lansing Mayor Andy Schor said that the city will be looking at all the properties that the company owns.
“This is a case of a landlord who just is not keeping up their properties but is still collecting rent. We’re going to do a top-to-bottom review of the properties from this landlord to see if there are any others out there that they own. If they’re a bad actor with these properties, we are going to look at all of them,” Schor said.
As the lawsuit gets underway, there are still six people stuck in hotels until a new home is found for them.