Daniel Murray lived at 15745 Quincy in Detroit for decades. He grew up in the home. The Detroit Land Bank gained control of the property in 2014 after tax foreclosure but never notified Daniel, who continued to live there as normal. Although the Land Bank owned the property for years, it never posted a notice on his door or sent him a letter or other form of contact notifying him of its ownership.
Daniel had no idea the Land Bank was involved in the property until, without warning, Land Bank agents broke into the home in April 2016 to conduct an inspection – apparently the Land Bank’s first interior inspection since it gained ownership years earlier. Daniel was not home at the time, but when his neighbor saw the inspectors breaking down Daniel’s locked door, he called Daniel, who rushed over but got there just after they left. After filing a police report and contacting his elected representatives, Daniel finally got a call from the Land Bank, notifying him for the first time that it owned his home. Daniel demanded to know what was going on, and why the Land Bank had broken into his home, but got no answers. The Land Bank told Daniel that it needed to send an inspector to verify his occupancy, and Daniel was more than willing to cooperate.
However, that never happened. Instead, Land Bank agents arrived at Daniel’s house without notice or explanation in May 2016, broke down his door (again), threw out his lifetime of possessions in the house, trashed his home beyond repair, and demolished the house shortly afterward. Daniel lost everything – not only a place to live, but also his possessions and personal family items from the home he lived in since he was a child.
Under the law, an occupant can typically only be evicted after a property owner serves a month’s advance notice and then files a lawsuit to obtain a court judgment and order of eviction if the occupant has not left. The Land Bank never followed any of this process, instead simply arriving at the house out of the blue one day to destroy the house and Daniel’s lifetime of possessions.
Daniel and his attorney, Matthew Clark, are currently pursuing a lawsuit against the Land Bank in Wayne County Circuit Court. Despite all evidence to the contrary, the Land Bank continues to claim that Daniel did not live in the home, and that its actions were perfectly acceptable. Although the Land Bank tried to get the case dismissed, the Court ruled in Daniel’s favor on June 6, 2017, finding that a home occupant cannot be evicted and dispossessed without notice and judicial process. The case is now moving forward on the factual dispute of whether Daniel was living in the house at the time of the eviction, which the Land Bank still denies. Read the Detroit Free Press story on the decision: http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/2017/06/19/ambush-eviction-demolition/378899001/