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Apartment residents who were flooded out and told to get out fight back

Posted at 8:37 AM, Jul 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-06 08:37:35-04

YPSILANTI, Mich. (WXYZ) — As metro Detroit continues to clean up from the flood of 10 days ago, dozens of residents who live in the Huron Heights Apartments in Ypsilanti have been told to get out.

Many are low-income and believe this is not about safety but money and trying to collect higher rents.

Dozens of residents got a letter from management last week that said they were being evicted and needed to get out ASAP.

“I’m standing my ground,” says James Dauphine who’s leading the tenants’ fight back.

He tells 7 Action News residents have been in legal battles with management in the past the most recent over water bills.

“It’s scary right now. I don’t know what’s going to happen, if I’m going to be blacklisted or if anything’s going to happen in the future which I hope that it does not,” he says.

They’ve gotten help to legally fight back and get a place to stay. Washtenaw County has paid for hotel rooms just a few miles away.

“I’m just a person born and raised here. So, I know how it can be when you don’t have a clue who to call,” says Washtenaw County Commissioner Ricky Jefferson.

One woman who lives alone didn’t want to show her face or use her name. She provided us cell phone video of the flooding inside her home.

These units do not have basements. The rain came in through the back door near a pond designed to catch runoff. She says management never came in to see if units were uninhabitable or could be fixed.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell surveyed the damage and talked with tenants on Saturday. She says she’s going to contact the feds at Housing and Urban Development to find out about their rights.

William Vinson is paying full rent, about $1,300 a month. He says this is a move to clear out low rent, renovate and raise rents - including his.

"Hey, we’re going to let you stay for $1,700 which is out of control. I can’t afford that,” he said.

The legal dispute could end up in court.

We reached out to apartment management but today is a holiday for them. We have not heard back.