This is Samual’s story about his home on Lenox Street. Now The Tricycle Collective purchased Sam’s home for him and his family for $500. After years of battling the slumlord who owned it and renovating it himself, Sam is a proud first-time homeowner.
I’m staying here with my girlfriend, my kids, we got 3 young kids, a 9 boy, 7 girl, 4 year old girl. Well, we moved in 2011 under a lease agreement. It was a 1-year lease. We paid for the first year and half and then bumped into a little problem with the upkeep of the home because the owners were stayin out of state in Oregon.
Everything needed maintenance: the furnace, the leaky basement, the drain snake, the windows, the carpeting. It was a lot of things going on with the home. I ended up paying for everything and still paying rent as well. So it was like we were at a standstill with that.
They me to court, they were trying to evict me. I guess everything was stopped at that point. I never paid anything after that point and I come to find out they haven’t been paying the property taxes since 2011. I had all types of proof of what I had done to the house and rent being paid, but they never showed up. We’ve just pretty much been hanging in the balance since the owners cut out. The bailiff never came.
Before we lived there we were staying at French Road in another house that was owned by someone out of state. The ceiling caved in over there. They didn’t fix it and after 3 months the property manager came around and said he had another house with another owner not far from there.
I gave him another deposit, $600, and the first month’s rent, which was $500, and he never gave the owners the money. The owners called me and were trying to get the money from me again but I told them “I can’t pay it twice. I can start paying the monthly payments to you guys but that’s who you were dealing with I can’t take the loss for something like that.”
We developed a alright relationship, they visited once to pick up their rent so they seen everything that was going on with the house. They agreed then to let me fix the things that were wrong and we would take it off the rent but then they called and said “Where’s the rent money?” on the 1st of the month. So it’s just a crazy situation.
I knew that the owners weren’t paying taxes because I kept getting notices in the mail. But the house wasn’t in foreclosure yet but I kept getting those notices so I knew it was coming. I didn’t know what the process was for it. Like I said I never owned a home I don’t know how it works. I didn’t know about the auction until you showed up at my door.
I work over at Hoover Wood Treatment. I pretty much just treat wood and stack wood all day. I get 40 hours a week guaranteed, overtime sometimes. My girlfriend is at Einstein’s Bagel she’s the assistant manager now. She’s the mother of my youngest daughter and she’s a great step-mom to my other 2 kids.
I’ve lived in Detroit my whole life. I grew up on 8 mile and Wyoming, Township. That’s a nice little neighborhood, as good as any other in Detroit.
This neighborhood its alright environment for the kids to be in, they got friends next door on both houses, developing real good relationships with em. Sometimes their friends spend the night over at my house. Sometimes, they spend the night over at their friends houses.
The tricycles in the front yard, that’s what the kids do, everyday. The kids up the street come down, they race up and down the street on those tircycles all day long, that’s what they do.
It’s exciting, the opportunity to own a house. Especially at this point in my life, I feel like it’s time.
To read more stories of families on the front lines of foreclosure, visit the testimonials page.