DETROIT (WJBK) - A Detroit-area business owner bought a house from the Detroit Land Bank. He then spent $25,000 to fix it up - only to get the bad news that the city might tear it down anyway.
On April 7, Preston Morgan bought an abandoned home on Carlin Street from the Detroit Land Bank for $3,200. He spent another $300 for a city inspection that detailed the repairs he needed to make. Then he spent another $22,000 to get it started.
Morgan didn't buy the home to flip it - he bought it for his own use.
"We own multiple properties, but this one was mine. It was a place to start a family and have some equity in something," Morgan said.
Under the agreement with the Land Bank, he has six months from the date of purchase to get it fixed.
"They informed me that I had six months to get the house done, to have it livable. They said there were no taxes on the property, that the property was clear and free from any dangerous buildings list or demolition list and that's all been not true," he said.
Last month, Preston received a letter from Detroit's Building Safety Engineering and Environmental Department (BSEED) that contradicted what he was told in April.
"The house was on a dangerous buildings list and could possibly be demolished," Morgan said.
The letter cited a January 12th inspection that deemed it to be a dangerous building and to prevent it from being recommended for demolition, he must appear at a hearing on Tuesday.
Remember, he bought the home in April and had it inspected in May. He went to the hearing to tell the building and safety team his story.
"I had an inspection done May 8 and they didn't have any of that paperwork, they only were going off an inspection from January of this year."
Adding insult to injury, Morgan was told that not only did he have to pay another $130 for a second inspection, $1,700 in back taxes was due on the home. For a city that says it's investing in the neighborhoods, this is how they're welcoming young buyers?
"Now we're just at a standstill because I don't want to continue to rehab the home if it's going to be demolished," he said.
He wasn't getting anywhere. But FOX 2 did.
We reached out to the city and found that he didn't owe back taxes at all - the Land Bank handled all of that before he bought the home. As it turns out, BSEED was operating on outdated information and the home has been taken off the dangerous building list.
The city apologized and Morgan is now free to continue work on his new home. But if it happened to him, will it happen to someone else? That's his concern today.
"Because of some failure to communicate down at the city - it's just sad."
The city assures us they are working to get up to speed with better computer systems and communication.