The Rights of Neighbors to Abandoned Homes
Unfortunately, the current real estate market has led to many abandoned homes as people realize they will be facing foreclosure and believe there are no methods to help prevent the foreclosure from occurring. What happens from the time these families leave their home until the bank takes over and sells the property? In one statement—neighbors suffer.
Families in duplexes definitely experience the effects of abandoned homes when the mold and mildew (and other negative effects) from their attached abandoned property starts to seep through their shared wall, putting their health at risk. Other neighborhoods have experienced repetitive fires of abandoned homes due to vacancy and arson and are unaware of what to do to keep their own homes safe from out of control fires. Still, other homeowners are frustrated with the lack of upkeep of neighboring lawns as it poorly reflects upon their houses.
What, if any, rights do these neighbors have in regards to reducing their suffering?
Unfortunately, there are very few; however, some options do exist. It is essential to understand that the homeowner still maintains the responsibility of the property until it has been taken over by the bank or sold by the homeowner. Therefore, if the problems associated with the abandoned property get out of hand, you do have a right to contact the health department and voice your concerns about your own safety. Be prepared to give detailed information about the exact issues surrounding the abandoned property, including date of vacancy if at all possible.
The health department could then do an inspection themselves and require the homeowner to address the health and safety-related concerns.
If the health department report proves to be unsuccessful, the abandon property neighbors can file a complaint with the city government. Talking with the city government can be very successful, especially if health-related concerns are reported. They often make repairs and carry out other treatments on a case- by-case basis for abandoned properties to prevent public health concerns.
In the end, there are some things that neighbors of abandoned properties can do to alleviate their stress. The most important step for these individuals to take is reporting to the health department and city government in an effort to receive some relief from health-related concerns.