Toledo Talk

Vacant Properties in the Old South End

If you go on AREIS you can find who owns a property, and a history of it, but little else. You're often told to "ask a neighbor" if you want information about a property. Well, since people work, party, and shop, you might be out of luck when you go to make your inquiry. Also, many people don't want to "dis" a neighbor, or their property since it might hurt their relations, or their chances of selling their property when they want to get. But I see a problem emerging.

Properties are being "abandoned" because of the economic climate. While it might be better to have someone living in a property (even if for free) rather than abandon it to the elements, and vandals, people hold out for a better deal (which may not come for years). So I've taken it upon myself to start mapping vacant houses and "empty" lots in my neighborhood (or rather area that I walk about in when I'm in my "neighborhood"). Check out, and look for Toledomaps (that's me there).

created by oldsendbrdy on May 26, 2008 at 12:50:11 pm     Comments: 37

source      versions

Comments ... #

Click on the "pins" for what I know about the house/property from personal experience or neighbors. Yellow "pins" are for vacant or abandoned houses ("caution"). Brown pins are for "empty" lots (where the vegetation will soon be brown).

posted by oldsendbrdy on May 26, 2008 at 12:53:16 pm     #  

A better link to oldsendbrdy's abandoned properties map.

posted by historymike on May 26, 2008 at 09:44:18 pm     #  

Thanks, historymike, I am still not good at making links. Appreciate the link. I am also going try to take updated pictures of both empty properties, and some of the new developement (the first in 20 years, according to one speaker) in this area.

posted by oldsendbrdy on May 26, 2008 at 11:15:00 pm     #  

Unfortunately, I've found out that there is a monthly fee involved to include images. It's not much ($19.95/mo.) but more than I wish to "invest" in this hobby. I might do links to Picasa or Flickr, and keep pixs there.

posted by oldsendbrdy on May 26, 2008 at 11:47:16 pm     #  

Driving by the corner of Parkside and Dorr, I noticed that the nice house on the SE corner has started losing windows.


Try googling ' INVISION INVESTMENTS ' and you'll start to wonder how many properties in how many cities nationwide they are allowing to sit empty until any value is gone.

Doesn't seem good to me.

posted by juanfungi on May 27, 2008 at 07:55:18 am     #  

Wait till you walk down Baden St. Its not to far from you. Such a horrible mess for a one block neighborhood.

posted by ToledoLatina on May 27, 2008 at 08:32:12 am     #  

the ohio house had a bill moving through to expedite the acquisition of vacant houses by cities for resale or demolition. it currently takes years - the new legislation would cut that down to months. anyone heard news on the status of that bill?

posted by enjoyeverysandwich on May 27, 2008 at 09:18:54 am     #  

ToledoLatina, I'll probably walk down Baden. It's within my "walking area" from home. It is nice to see some new homes built (300 block of Chapin and Havre), but I wonder who will buy them if the economy is going in the crapper?

posted by oldsendbrdy on May 27, 2008 at 10:32:30 am     #  

Enjoyeverysandwich, I wonder if people can just "return" property to the city. Of those empty houses I listed a couple of owners have said that they will just quit paying their real estate taxes, and let the city reclaim the property for back taxes. Anyone know who long such a process as that will take?

posted by oldsendbrdy on May 27, 2008 at 10:38:46 am     #  

I live on South Avenue near I-75. Here there are two new houses that were built on a vacant lot. Last year my sister was declined purchase of one of the houses, based on the fact that her income was to high for a family of 4. Another family purchased it and within a year it became vacant again. Recently, I have seen someone working on the house to get it ready for sale again. But with all the new housing and the fact that foreclosure has been so high, are they going to be the new vacant houses on the block?

posted by ToledoLatina on May 27, 2008 at 03:12:41 pm     #  

Toldeo housing is horrible. A month or so I went for a drive, and was just shocked at how many "For sale" signs I saw on houses. I'm not talking about 1 or 2, but a good 50% of some whole blocks.

Then last week I was driving over on Reynolds to pay my cable bills and I couldn't believe how many business buildings are up for sale. This is very troubling. I love Toledo, it's sad as a somewhat-newbie to see the city deteriorate just as I'm starting a life here.

On the flip side, it's going to help me get my first home cheaper. They really need to start chopping the property tax around here. I've completely ignored areas/suburbs of Toledo due to the high property tax.

posted by jshriver on May 27, 2008 at 03:25:31 pm     #  

It's just not Toledo. I read in the paper where some two thousand kids in public schools in Cleveland have been homeless and in Santa Barbra Cali. they have opened up parking lots for homeless women and children that live in their cars due to being homeless. So lets just not blame it on Toledo, its a nation wide problem.

posted by ToledoLatina on May 27, 2008 at 05:02:06 pm     #  

After the City council votes yes to Carty's vacant residetial property registration, he can collect fees for these places, and force the owners to post a "come inside, I'm empty" notice on the door.

The A-Hole

posted by CynicalCounsel on May 27, 2008 at 05:34:38 pm     #  

"I read in the paper where some two thousand kids in public schools in Cleveland have been homeless ..."

That cannot be Cleveland, Ohio because Cleveland has a brand new baseball stadium, a brand new basketball arena, and a brand new football stadium, and we know that these types of development projects rejuvenate the downtown, which somehow magically cures every other ill elsewhere in the city.

posted by jr on May 27, 2008 at 06:25:40 pm     #  

Today I walked a little further (up to Western Avenue, followed that for one block west, and turned south onto Havre. I've updated the photos, put them on Flickr (I don't know which I like better really), and added a few more addresses. I don't want to be obsessive/compulsive about this, but my pixs are more up-to-date than what the county auditor is providing.

posted by oldsendbrdy on May 27, 2008 at 07:47:19 pm     #  

this is a repeat comment from SB to an article of similar refrence:

Is this the same bill
Submitted by KraZyKat

that requires a home which is left vacant for 45 days to be tagged as such, thereby giving vandals and thieves a "green light" that nobody's home so they may steal from the premise or squat on the property? I currently have a home next door which is in foreclosure. The bank will not cut the grass so I do to avoid the appearance that no ones at home. I have notified the TPD of this home so that they may do more frequent patrols to hopefully ward off the unscrupulous who wish to skin the home of its aluminum siding. If this proposal passes will it void my efforts to provide this house with a sense of occupancy and open it up to thieves who will vandalize it and degrade my property values as well?

- Just the KAT, thinking out loud again.

Submitted by GuestZero

Why do you cut the grass? Isn't a bank equally liable under the local nuisance statute? Find out the grass-length standard, measure it on that yard (which you can do from the public sidewalk), and once it is out of spec, file a nuisance complaint.

Are we expecting BANKS to be let off the hook with the properties they claim to own?

I know it's KraZy...
Submitted by KraZyKat

but if I don't mow the lawn it seems as if no one else will. I have contacted the bank on record according to AREIS (HSBC Mortgage Services). It seems that the house is only in pre-foreclosure therefore the previous owners are still on record even though they have moved out. They came back and dug up all the landscaping though. With them out of the house and word on the street that this home is empty I only believe it a matter of time till the siding is gone and the home burns to the ground because some crack-head decides to take up residence. Till then all I can do is try to establish the impression that someone actually lives there and hope for the best.

I wonder if I can charge HSBC for the cost of cuttinmg the lawn?

posted by KraZyKat on May 27, 2008 at 08:25:46 pm     #  

KrazyKat, I think the "crackheads" know when homes are vacant by other means. I thought about maintaining the place at 834 South, but then I also make money mowing peoples' lawns. They said I was foolish to mow that one, and why should I charge them to mow when I would do that one for free? I contacted the owner but she wasn't interested in hiring me (or anyone) to mow the lawn. She was hoping to sell it soon. Of course, that was before the vandals did their thing. The constant concern I hear from the next door neighbors of these vacant houses is that someone will start a fire in one, and burn down their house.

I thought about boarding the place up after the doors came open, but when I suggested to my neighbors that we all chip in to buy the plywood to board up the windows they felt it wasn't their responsibility. They want the "Department of Neighborhoods" to do what they pay their tax dollars for them to do. But after we first notified the police (when we first noticed the open door and some people saw other people entering the house and leaving with metal and other stuff) we heard nothing from the "Department of Neighborhoods". Some of us called again a week later, and, finally, three weeks after we first voiced our concern someone from that department came, and took pictures. Two weeks later some relatives of the owner came from Illinois to mow the lawn, and secure the broken entrances. Now we await the next event.

posted by oldsendbrdy on May 27, 2008 at 10:57:32 pm     #   1 person liked this

OSEB, do you think that publicly mapping these vacant properties with pictures included may lead to further vandelism?

Also, have you ever been approached by the authorities who claimed that you were trespassing when caring for these properties? Some poster on Swampbubbles claimed that an aquaintence of theirs was cutting grass of a vacant properties but if anyone from the city sees them doing it, they can be cited for trespassing??

I am concerned that my SE neighborhood is changing from a quiet isolated neighborhood to just "the HOOD". Gun shots ring out frequently, car burglaries are on the rise, and just tonight police and Lucas County Dog Wardens confiscated 4 pit bulls from the house a few doors down. Next door to the vacant property no less.

I would like to flight but because the last tax evaluation overpriced my house, my job status uncertain, and the housing market the way it is I probably will be here a few more years.

I moved into a rather quiet, middle class, South-End neighborhood. I hope I don't have to move from a ghetto and loose my investment anymore then the current burst of the housing bubble already has accomplished.

posted by KraZyKat on May 28, 2008 at 02:03:21 am     #  

Why the hell aren't you people religiously calling the Nuisance devision of the City of Toledo and putting pressure thereby on these absentee landlords?

Why are we continuing to give these "Whatever Investments LLC" places a free ticket to continue milking us POOR in Toledo?

See a broken window? MAKE THE CALL. Continue calling EACH DAY until that window is repaired and the grass cut and the kicked-in door is sealed again.

Or ... just enjoy the Little Detroit that this city will have to be renamed as.

P.S. I've already railed against this demolition crap. The vicious yuppies running the Toledo government should NOT be given the authority to raze housing. That just cuts down the supply, hence supporting prices. You don't need to wonder why so many city politicians are in the real estate business, do you?

If a city is going to address a decrepit-housing problem, then that problem can only and sensibly be handled through restoration, not demolition. There's still significant demand for housing in Toledo ... but what stock we have is overpriced.

P.P.S. OSEB, if city officials aren't going to show up to enforce nuisance laws, then it only stands to reason they will not show up once you begin boarding up or otherwise securing an abandoned and looted house.

posted by GuestZero on May 28, 2008 at 03:14:00 am     #   1 person liked this

Zero, you're right. I'll call the city.

The thing is, that's not even my neighborhood - I live miles to the south but it pisses me off because I drive there every day on the way to work.

How about this?

Invision Investments
Kevin Brown, Founder
1 Mid Rivers Mall Drive
Suite 290
St. Peters, MO 63376
Phone: 636-397-5020
Fax: 636-397-5030

I think I'll give them a shout and discuss that corner and the other four properties they own here in Toledo.

posted by juanfungi on May 28, 2008 at 07:34:32 am     #   1 person liked this

To report neighborhood nuisance conditions:
Dial up 'Call City Hall' at 419.936.2020
Have the actual street address ready when calling.

Good luck with that.

posted by juanfungi on May 28, 2008 at 10:59:28 am     #  

GZ, the owner of the property that most gets my attention (834 South) isn't a corporation, but rather an individual who moved when her job left. She got help from various government entities to rehab the house (new roof plus other repairs), but for some reason hasn't managed to rent it to someone who is a "good" renter. Or maybe she just wants to sell it. But the value of the property is probably declining (when I looked in the yard I found the outside A/C unit gutted, and, though I didn't go in the house, I saw that the ducts for what would be a furnace are dangling in the air). They appear to have secured the entrance ways for now (the doors are no longer hanging open) but we have some addicts in the neighborhood who will probably open it again. A lot of these people (white and black) "make" their own poverty. I agree that it would be nice to have a larger supply of housing than there is a demand for so the rents could be lower, but uninhabited housing invites those who have an addiction, but no money for anything else. Maybe it would be better just to let them live "rent-free" in unused housing but they would probably still strip it of anything of value. The owner of a vacant house cannot win for losing. The property across Chapin (822 South) that is mortgaged to GMAC is maintained at a minimal level. The grass is cut, and when a breakin occurs someone comes out and secures the house when we call the 800 number listed on the door. The danger from that place is fire from arson, or some fool addicts smoking around fuel. I am not sure that most of the vacant, or abandoned housing in this part of town is owned by mortgage companies. I would have to check out the vacant houses for which I have addresses against AREIS.

posted by oldsendbrdy on May 28, 2008 at 04:33:20 pm     #  

What would be interesting is if "Habitat for Humanity" could rehab some of these houses, and rent them out. This gets the city government out of the restoration business.

posted by oldsendbrdy on May 28, 2008 at 04:35:23 pm     #  

OSEB, I see way too many eviction indicators for properties along Broadway (from the Zoo in towards downtown). That area is a hard-luck zone that must attract both kinds of bad elements in the landlord-tenant equation.

What seems to really start the process off is the flight of those who can leave the area either early or later on but still within their means. That "hollowing out" of the population produces an increase in the number of dicktards who remain. Just ONE dicktard can destroy the social investment of 3 or 4 entire families in the South End. There must be over 200 of pure-bred dicktards who are wandering up and down Broadway, looking to kill off any remaining amount of sane culture.

And we really need to discuss all the assumptions behind this statement of yours:

« The owner of a vacant house cannot win for losing. »

A man should not own or otherwise control more than he can take care of. Firstly, having a mortgage on the property doesn't mean you own it. The bank does. Secondly, "owning" more than one home is fairly aberrant for the middle class since you only live in one of them. Since the other one is necessarily empty, it creates a big hole in the finances of the real middle class. That creates a need to rent the 2nd property out, but you are in an entire other regime of socio-economics. You have to be a landlord, which demands direct responsibilities like maintenance. You also have to be in a market for renters, which is always fairly perilous. In short, all this so-called investment has created "accidental landlords", which plainly put doesn't work.

I have no sympathy for these vacancy owners and debtors. They are overextended by definition due to the vacancies. They should sell out at a much cheaper price (i.e. whatever it takes to unload the asset from their control) and move on in life with a smaller set of financial assets which should be easier to manage in a prosperous fashion.

In any event, nothing I say here will make any difference, really. There will be even more poor people by next winter and we slump into a national Depression, and then the real, LETHAL fun will start. We're going to see a significant uptick in the number of heating-related fires in Toledo, and particularly along Broadway ("The Avenue of Doom"). There will be more burglaries this summer than the last, and in 2009 there will be a significant uptick. Probably in 2009, the police will notice a remarkable spate of burglaries during the cold months, as people desperate for cash will brave the elements to ply their terrible trade.

posted by GuestZero on May 31, 2008 at 09:58:00 pm     #  

I own two properties myself. The duplex that I live in with my mother, and the house across the street that I originally moved into. The second house is my "insurance policy" for my brothers (both of whom have houses with mortgages on them). I refuse to sell that house, or rent it to just anyone. I'm not in it for the quick buck. I have let it sit vacant rather than get a rotten tenant in it (as has happened to me two times out of three). My brother lived there for several years when he first lived with his girlfriend (later to be his wife). When he couldn't make the rent I let it go (better than giving him loans to live elsewhere). Later, he moved out toward Sylvania Townhship, and the place stayed empty for 10 months, and I got my first legitimate renter. I fixed the place up (new HVAC and electrical overhaul). She paid a months' rent, lived there three months, and was called back into service with 9/11 (she was a retired captain in the MPs).

I again let it sit idle. A young fellow approached me to rent. I knew the girl he was living with, and thought he was okay. Should have checked further. A crack-head who borrowed money, and didn't pay back. I evicted him after 10 months.

Then I got my "dream" renter. I had him a little over a year, and he has since moved to Wyoming. He even re-roofed the house in exchange for forgoing two months rent. A good deal for us both. Now (after four months) I have another renter. I have already told her that with the economy the way it is I will allow her to forego a couple of months' rent a year if that becomes necessary. I guess I am a soft touch, but I would rather have a decent renter than some fool living with his girlfriend, or wife, and busting the windows in a fit of pique. And I would rather own the property than subject my neighbors to some louse who makes his neighbors miserable.

posted by oldsendbrdy on Jun 01, 2008 at 01:43:17 am     #  

OSEB, you ARE a bit of a softie. So is my current landlord. You guys gotta toughen up a bit. I mean, really, telling a tenant that you'd allow her to not pay rent if the going got tough? That's beyond the pale for a proper tenant-landlord relationship. A tenant that can't ensure they pay the rent is not a real tenant at all. That's why we need a lot more low-order housing ... to match the REAL rent-paying capacities of these sorts of tenants.

A landlord has the right to collect rent. After all, he has the equal responsibility to maintain the place to a minimum spec, which may require a call to a contractor for emergency repairs to piping.

Disclaimer: I don't own any property. With the coming Depression, I may never own property, considering my age and the age I'll be when I emerge from the Depression to rebuild my shattered life.

posted by GuestZero on Jun 03, 2008 at 12:39:30 pm     #  

I heard voices in front of my house about 9:50 PM on Chapin Street. I looked out to see a "paddy" wagon parked on my street in front of a neighbor's house south of me. I then saw police cars parked behind it to the corner of South and Chapin. Lots of police. A neighbor from across the street came to my door to tell me that he had seen four guys inside 429 Chapin (a vacant house for sale by Loss Realty). The front door had been removed. He called the police. They came. The guys in the house ran but they caught three of the four. They also caught another fellow who was a lookout from Chapin and Walbridge. They had begun to strip the house.

On Christmas eve I had called city about two PM when I saw that the front door of 431 Chapin (another vacant house) was gone. I saw a mattress inside the living room and was worried that would be used to fuel a fire. I removed the mattress to the backyard a week later when nothing was done. I called the city again about the house "open to the elements". Now the back door was missing. I went inside to see what had happened. The snow was deep going to the front door. The fine paneling I remembered from years before when it was occupied was gone.

When I called the city the second time to report the house "open to the elements" the employee I got hold of said that I should not be going into the vacant house; that they would send a team out to survey it. I explained that I had called before, and that no team had come. How was I to know what was going on unless I looked for myself?

Now the house next to it has been broken into. I don't have the resources to board this house up myself. When is this administration going to get off its collective ass and do something.

posted by oldsendbrdy on Jan 13, 2014 at 11:34:36 pm     #   1 person liked this

^^Why is it the City's responsibility? Shouldn't it be the lien holders' problem?

posted by slowsol on Jan 14, 2014 at 09:08:37 am     #  

slowsol posted at 08:08:37 AM on Jan 14, 2014:

^^Why is it the City's responsibility? Shouldn't it be the lien holders' problem?

Sure - if there is a lienholder, I'd agree with you. However, considering everything else our nanny state govt. at every level does "for our benefit", why shouldn't they want to board this place up? I'd consider it a nuisance and a safety hazard. Secure it and put a lien on the property for the cost of securing it.

posted by Foodie on Jan 14, 2014 at 09:47:21 am     #  

slowsol posted at 08:08:37 AM on Jan 14, 2014:

^^Why is it the City's responsibility? Shouldn't it be the lien holders' problem?

Lienholder is not the same as owner. Lienholders only concern is about getting paid. They won't be responsible for taxes, nuisance violations or liability until they complete their foreclosure. And for a lot of these properties, it just desn't make economic sense to foreclose. I have gone around and around with lenders begging them to foreclose on properties that the owner has died and the mortgage hasn't been paid in five years. They won't do it if the property has little value. Unfortunately, they won't release their lien either. There should be a process wherein the lienholder has to foreclose their interest or lose their place. That would help to avoid situations described above and allow these buildings to be returned to the market instead of slowly deteriorating.

posted by Ace_Face on Jan 14, 2014 at 10:06:29 am     #   1 person liked this

Keep shining the light of day on this subject, these forums put pressure on elected officials and the county - keep it up people - one of the properties mentioned above shows no payments of real estate taxes since transfer in 2002? You elect these people who then hire the workers in that particular office, is this what we want? And this just keeps growing, is this bigger than the Noe deal? Some on these forums will try to shut this down because they may owe, others may work for the government, but lets keep the light on this growing and unfair problem, every penny they don't collect costs the honest taxpayer more.

posted by Nyse on Jan 14, 2014 at 10:28:48 am     #   1 person liked this

I found out from the City's Facebook page that the phone line 419-936-2020 is staffed 24 hours a day. I called about 11:00 PM, and a nice lady took the information.

One bone I have to pick besides: the old city website had email addresses for all the people responsible for the city's maintenance. Now there are only phone numbers listed. A neighbor across the street was going to send a picture of the open house at 431 Chapin to the city officials. He said that emails can't be "lost" that go to city officials. Maybe they got rid of the email addresses so there is no record of when they were contacted?

I also contacted the agent with the listing at Loss Realty Group. She said that she would contact the police and send someone to board up the house. She said this is a problem everywhere that realtors are having to deal with (even in the more prosperous parts of town).

posted by oldsendbrdy on Jan 14, 2014 at 11:07:48 am     #  

Just finished calling the Department of Neighborhoods, 419-245-1400. The nice lady there offered to connect me with "Call City Hall" whom I have already contacted twice.

posted by oldsendbrdy on Jan 14, 2014 at 11:39:24 am     #  

Maintenance for Loss Realty Group came to 429 Chapin Street. A neighbor had told me that the garage at 431 Chapin Street was open to the alley and full of stuff. I told him I would call the police and went to check for myself. I saw a couple of doors. I could not remember what door was on 429 Chapin Street so I googled 429 Chapin Street, and found a nice picture of the front door.

I told the maintenance man, and we went back to look. The lock box was still on it, and he called for the combo. It opened, and I helped him carry it back to the house. They had broken a window to get into the house, and had not damaged the door getting it off the frame. The maintenance people (an older woman was helping him) put the door back up. I am still waiting for the city's people to come out and secure the property at 431 Chapin Street after three calls since Christmas eve.

posted by oldsendbrdy on Jan 15, 2014 at 11:55:11 am     #  

This thread is borderline porn for me. Just saying.

posted by OhioKimono on Jan 17, 2014 at 10:28:00 am     #  

The city put particle board over the front and back entrances at 431 Chapin Street. I almost had an orgasm when I heard about it over the phone.

posted by oldsendbrdy on Jan 17, 2014 at 04:57:19 pm     #  

I checked out the backdoor by looking through the fence. Kind of reminds me of when I was a 11 year old sneaking up to my friend's old brother's bedroom to look at his Playboys.

posted by oldsendbrdy on Jan 17, 2014 at 05:02:00 pm     #