12 homes have been demolished in Detroit's east side, in the Morningside neighborhood, after being sold at auction.
It appears the new owners had never been advised not to purchase the residences, as they were up for demolition before being put up for auction.
The Land Bank Fast Track Authority tore up the houses as part of a project for blight elimination near 3 schools, located in the east side.
When owners caught on to what had happened, they were told it was all a mistake, which almost never happens.
Karla Henderson, director of the city's planning and facilities department, explains that at least 12 properties have been knocked down – 11 of which had been bought by the same investor.
The other was purchased in October at a tax auction. Artist couple Kristine Diven and Micho "Detronik" McAdow acquired it for $500 (€380).
"When we drove up, I thought what I was seeing couldn't be right. [...] In the past (few) weeks, it's almost like being in mourning," says Diven.
As Detroit News writes, they had expected high renovation costs, squatters, and even feared the house would be robbed.
"You're going in blind and taking some deal of risk, but you hope that you get through the process relatively unscathed," Diven describes.
A government spokesman explained to them that a demolition order had been issued for the house since June 2011. The Fire Department approved it last summer, noting the vacant building was dangerous.
The Wayne County Treasurer's Office auctioned it off in October, at a low cost. One day after the demolition, the pair, represented by a friend, was supposed to sign the deed for the property.
The other houses had been purchased by the Dearborn-based Metro Property Group, who claimed they bought them in order to help the neighborhood.
"MPG is working with the state and county to resolve this matter, in terms of reimbursement," spokeswoman Darci McConnell tells the press in a written statement.