LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Dozens of people were forced out of their homes Wednesday as city inspectors say the living conditions at Holmes Apartments are unsafe.
People in at least 15 units were ordered to vacate their apartments by the City of Lansing’s Code Compliance. The city said that no one should be living there.
“You gave us less than 24 hours to get out. And then go ‘eh, good luck.’ Fifteen of the twenty-nin units at Holmes Apartments, most of them red-tagged, were occupied by families until tonight,” said Patrick Barnes.
This morning, April Abernathy and many of her neighbors saw notes ordering them to vacate the premises and drop off their keys.
“While I was trying to pack up, the ceiling caved in,” she said.
“You can’t close a place down and say it wasn’t safe and clean and then not provide a safe haven,” said Barnes.
The city’s Code Compliance Office gave the order, saying conditions here are deplorable and unsafe.
Contractors could be seen trying to fix the roofing issue, but now it’s too late.
Holmes Apartments is owned by Simtob Management, who refused to go on camera but sent 6 News a statement, saying residents were contacted and offered the opportunity to move into newer units on a different property.
Angella Bollwahn says she found out five minutes before our interview.
“You knew way back when the roof was bad when the thing blew off. You should’ve done something back then and not waited,” she said.
Barb Kimmel with the City’s Code Compliance was also at the scene.
“Nobody wants to remove anyone from their home, but at the same time, we have a duty to protect the safety and health of the residents,” said Kimmel.
City Council Member Adam Hussein says he’s known about the conditions for a while. He’s been vocal online about wanting to help.
“We’re calling on our state legislatures moving forward and actually requiring property owners like this Brad Simtob to be on the hook financially when something like this happens,” he said.
But while all of this is ironed out, people like Patrick say it’s hard enough living in low-income housing. Now, he needs to find a place on short notice.
“You want this building closed down and red-tagged, and re-tagged all the way through, move us,” Patrick said.
The City of Lansing says it is looking into several legal options against Simtob Management, but no lawsuit has been filed.
Simtob said at least eight tenants were moved, and they are on track to complete the roof and interior damage by the end of April.