The Detroit Land Bank Authority says it plans to refund a woman $1,000 for a home purchased at auction after she was unable to complete necessary repairs to make the home habitable.
In a nine-minute video posted to Facebook, a woman wearing a Detroit Lions T-shirt angrily describes being shortchanged in a home purchase. “I bought this house for these two children,” she says, “…and somebody sold me a house that should’ve been on a fucking demolish (sic) list.”
She goes on to say that a compliance officer from the Detroit Land Bank Authority told her that the home is “up for demolishing,” says that she and her family were forced to live in a shelter, and also fires a gun at the home. The video has amassed more than 500,000 views since Thursday.
Craig Fahle, director of public affairs for the authority, tells BLAC the office had been in contact with the woman since March and attempted to guide her to resources, including steering her to grant applications, to bring the house up to code.
“She couldn’t get the resources together,” Fahle says. “In this situation, she clearly needs our help.”
It is rare for the DLBA to offer a refund on an auction purchase, Fahle says, but it is done when there are extenuating circumstances. Fahle could not comment on what the woman's circumstances were.
The Detroit Land Bank Authority began auctioning homes in varying conditions to buyers in 2014 in an effort to offload city-owned property, to attract new residents to the city and to convert current renters in the city to buyers. Bidding on all homes begins at $1,000.
Prior to auctions, the city posts inspection reports with a detailed list of necessary repairs. All buyers are cautioned of the risk that comes with purchasing as-is properties, Fahle says.
A requirement of purchasing a DLBA home through auction is rehabilitation within six months. The purchase is forfeited if the repairs aren’t made.
Fahle says there was no effort to take away the home from the woman in the video, however. “It got to a point where she couldn’t handle it. The best situation here is to refund her.”
A GoFundMe page raising money for the woman, listed as Andrea Sheppard on the crowdfund, has reached more than $1,000. BLAC has reached out to the owner of the GoFundMe page for comment.