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A Detroit Neighborhood (Photo: Jerry B, Licensed via DepositPhotos)

If you’ve lived in the city for awhile, you probably know the story.

A friend or family member has a terrible landlord. They try to deal with their issues kindly at first, saying “well, the stove not working for a few days is okay,” or something like that.

Then the fridge goes out. Then the heat goes out in winter, or, in one of my friends cases, the wall fell off the side of the house.

Turns out that feeling that there are a lot of sketch rental situations in Detroit has some basis in fact.

Here are few highlights from a staggering Detroit News report that you really should read in full. 

  • 4,174 rental addresses were registered and inspected by the city, but the U.S. Census Bureau says there are 140,000 rental units in Detroit. That’s about 3 percent.
  • 85 percent of fines to landlords don’t get paid
  • Just 1 out of every 13 eviction cases was filed about an address legally registered with the city
  • 1 in 5 Detroit rental units face eviction every year
  • Detroit’s homeownership rate dropped significantly, from 54 percent of residents renting in 2000 compared with 45 percent in 2016
  • The city’s housing stock is much older than the rest of the state. 80 percent of Detroit’s housing was built before 1960. Statewide, the average is 37 percent.

The city is attempting to step up enforcement, and the piece gets into why that may or may not have the desired effect, with the city deputizing inspectors to write tickets while pro-landlord groups say that complaints are a way tenants try and get out of paying rent.

Dive in to the whole thing here. It’s well reported and the work was done over multiple months.