Residents of Corktown Apartment Building Don't Need to Vacate as Landlord Bends to City's Pressure

November 22, 2021, 6:41 PM by  Allan Lengel

Victor Attar Apartments

Last Wednesday, the city ordered residents in 17 units at the Victor Attar Apartments on Porter Street in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood to vacate three days before Thanksgiving because there was no running water. Many were also without heat.

Renters accused the landlord of turning off the services to get rid of them to make way so new tenants could pay higher rates.

But Monday, all that changed. The city's Buildings Safety, Engineering and Environmental Department (BSEED), which had issued $13,142 in ticket violations, said the fines "got the owner's attention," and that residents would no longer have to vacate and temporarily relocate.

Jessica Parker, chief enforcement officer for BSEED, said the water was "magically" restored Friday, and there was heat in 12 of the 17 units after the weekend. She said the landlord is working to restore heat to the remaining units, which were for the time being using space heaters. She said the landlord was also working to repair the elevator, another issue the city demanded be fixed.

The apartment manager Ben Decker, who works with the City Investment Group on Cass Avenue in Detroit, had suggested to Deadline Detroit last week that broken pipes in the basement may have resulted in the water shutoff, a claim renters and the city were skeptical of. Decker did not return a call for comment on Monday.

Resident Barbara Green, who had been without water for more than a week, tells Deadline Detroit she is relieved that she won't be forced out. 

"I feel a little at ease," she said. She added that she had heat the whole time, and believed that the landlord had only turned off heat to people who were behind in the rent. 

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