Wyoming family forced to leave home weeks after moving in because of dangerous living conditions

Posted at 10:35 PM, Oct 08, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-08 22:56:11-04

WYOMING, Mich.—A family moved into a rental home, only to be told they had to move nearly two months later because it wasn’t safe.

In fact, it never passed city standards for occupancy.

“If you go into the basement you can see where the structure is, where the basement could potentially cave in,” said Jeannica Oliver, the renter of the home.

Oliver moved herself and her three kids into the 34th Street home because she says her landlord never disclosed the safety issues. She got a knock on the door from a city inspector a month later. The inspector was surprised to see her, or anyone for that matter, living in the rental space.

It turns out the owner had a laundry list of repairs to make before anyone was allowed to occupy the home. The home never passed the full inspection.

“It was already stressful looking for a place," Oliver said. "Especially when you have a dog; that’s a stressful situation because a lot of people won’t rent to you. It makes you want to cry."

Moving is never easy, and Oliver's family is forced to live out of the boxes that fill her living room.

“We hate that we have to move, but it’s not safe. The house is not safe,” she said.

“This has been a nightmare."

Now, the family has five days to find a new place before they are fined by the City of Wyoming.

“I was like, ‘Is it true? Do we have to be out?’ And he was like ‘Yes, it’s not safe.'”

It all started with a stressful search to find a place that would allow their beloved pit bull.  Oliver fell in love with the house right away, because, from first glance, it had all the amenities she wanted: granite counter tops, new cabinets, and lots of space.

FOX 17 News checked with the city, and there are five building permits with many repairs that include electrical, structural, plumbing, and mechanical problems.

Some of the problems varied from towels in open vents, a leaking sink, and holes in the foundation that let bugs intp the basement. There was also shoddy electrical work and a wall that could potentially cave in.

Oliver corresponded with the city for weeks, only to find out her landlord was at fault. Not only did he not pass the inspection, but he wasn’t registered with the city, according to the inspections department of Wyoming.

And there was one more big detail Jeannica wished she had known before putting down her deposit.

“We had bed bugs, and we never had bed bugs," she said. "So I asked (the owner) a question as to how long the house had been dormant and if he shampooed the carpet. He never answered the question.”

The city said the house was abandoned for up to a year before Dave Beckering purchased it. FOX 17 reached out to Beckering, and while he declined an on-camera interview, he said he is giving back all of Oliver’s deposit and rent.

He said he told her there were a few minor fixes that needed to be done when she moved in, but Oliver said doesn’t think any of this is minor.

“He can’t rent it out, and he doesn’t understand it’s not habitable,” she said.

The city isn’t taking it lightly either. Beckering was fined $500 for allowing tenants to move in.

Oliver hopes it doesn’t happen to anyone else. “Now I know. I never experienced this before, so now this is a learning lesson for me."

Wyoming officials say there are about 11,000 rentable units in Wyoming, and they get inspected every two years, so you can always check with the city before renting.

Oliver is now trying to find an apartment that will rent to her, her children and her pit bull before Monday.