Monday, April 3, 2023

Unsafe housing in Lansing: Red tags

Red tagged housing has made the news several times recently, from people's homes burning down, to the City of Lansing suing a property owner who moved his tenants from a red-tagged property into a pink tagged building that he owned. Council member Ryan Kost has been working on reforms to how red tagging is handled. Additionally, the head of code enforcement resigned abruptly last week.

The City Council is planning to hold special sessions to deal with this housing crisis. (Update: this meeting is available online)

So, where are the areas of Lansing that have been red tagged? Documents provided by Ryan Kost of City Council indicate that there are over 700 red tags currently being monitored, for 655 buildings. The vast majority (~460) of these red tags are by people who own only one single building. It's also true that the vast majority of rental homes inspected by the city pass safety tests.

Last year, the staff of the City Pulse wondered if the red tags were mostly the results of a few bad actors. There are a few repeat offenders. Around a dozen property owners have multiple properties, many of which are red tagged. Some of these have made the news recently. The City of Lansing's Lansing's code enforcement department has already fined these property owners, in some cases thousands of dollars.

For example, according to publicly available data, each of the top three owners of red tagged properties individually own at least 15 properties each, they have at least 5 red tagged properties, and their fines are also each over $9,000.

The neighborhoods with the highest rates of red tagging per building (around 3% red tagged/building) are Willoughby, Old Town/Stadium District, Holmes/Potter-Walsh, Old Forest, and North Town. 

The neighborhoods that with the lowest rates of red tagging per building (less than half a percent of buildings have red tags) are Groesbeck, Moores River Drive, River Forest, Eastern High School, Lady Hill/Creston, North Colonial Village, Benjamin Davis, Scott Woods/Sycamore Park, Sagamore Hills (love that name), and Lewton-Rich.

Below is a map of locations of red tagged buildings. A red tag might mean "tagged Unsafe" or "NEAT unsafe" (properties that have been tagged unsafe for 90 days or more can be referred to the Neighborhood Enforcement Action Team). The darker red means more red tags in a bin; key is in the upper right. Red tags on this map are only safety related: they do not include enforcements about trash, grass, failure to register, construction without a permit, etc. 

Lansingography would like to thank Ryan Kost for providing this data.

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