A ‘fake landlord’ home rental scam is destroying lives in Detroit


Critics say the Land Bank — which owns over 64,000 empty lots and 13,000 houses, making it the city’s largest property owner — bears some of the blame for the pervasiveness of the fake landlord scam for failing to keep tabs on its properties.  

The authority acknowledges that it isn’t always able to make contact with people living in the estimated 2,400 occupied houses it owns, allowing scammers to break into the houses, then credibly pose as landlords. 

“We are certainly limited by size, scope and budget,” Alyssa Strickland, a spokeswoman, said, adding that the authority is “working diligently every day to connect with people living in Land Bank-owned houses.” 

The Land Bank created a one-person Real Property Integrity Unit early last year to investigate reported scams and has since referred 10 cases to police, Strickland said.

Some of those cases are now part of a deed fraud investigation that the police are…

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