Monday, January 28, 2013

Thoughts on the recent apartment fires

Last Sunday, the 20th of January, there was a large fire in the apartment building at 1310 Packard. On Friday, the 25th, there was another fire. This time in an old house that had been converted into apartments at 410 S Division. The Ann Arbor Fire and Police Departments as well as supporting Fire Departments from nearby municipalities did a great job extinguishing the blazes and evacuating all the people and pets from the buildings.

In his article about the 401 S. Division Fire, Ed Vielmetti, pulled the property's permit history from the City's Etrakit System. The file, presented on Ed's website, shows that the building's rental permit had expired in the summer of 2012. I checked the rental permit for 1310 Packard, and it too had expired.

While I don't mean to imply that the expired rental permits were somehow related to these two fires, this does leave me with some questions. I wonder how frequently apartments are rented in Ann Arbor with expired rental permits. What caused these two companies to allow the rental permits for their properties to expire? Is there a backlog in the Building Inspectors Office? Did the residents of these two buildings know the rental permits had expired? I really don't know a lot about how this whole system works, but something seems a little fishy. Gentle readers, if you rent, are the rental permits up to date on your property?

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