Wilson told News 2 that the home "has a mosquito breeding pool. Besides the mosquitos the water would be a death trap for a small child. This house has been abandoned for about a year. I found out last week they had a swiming pool. I held my camera over the fence today and this is what I saw." Image Courtesy Gregory Wilson.
Viewer Gregory Wilson called News 2 about this foreclosed home in Kernersville
A sign on the door. Image Courtesy Gregory Wilson.
Greensboro, N.C. - What if you lived next to an empty house with overgrown grass and a swimming pool filled with dirt and debris?
News 2 viewer Gregory Wilson found himself in that situation. He called us wanting answers about what can be done. As we looked into it, we found out he's not alone.
Right now, there are more than 700 properties in the Triad in foreclosure. If you don't live next to one, chances are one is close by.
Who's responsibility is it to make sure the grass gets cut and the property looks presentable and stays safe? It could be the bank. It could be the original owner. Figuring out which one actually owns the property can be a challenge.
When the city receives a complaint about a property, it sends a notice in the mail. If they don't receive a response within two weeks, an inspector checks the property again. Then, it can take several more weeks to track down the owner. After all that, the city of Greensboro sends a crew out to clean-up the property.
The city can't act much faster or simply just mow the lawn right away because state law requires the city to give property owners time to respond.
Greensboro Code Compliance Administrator Lori Loosemore said, "In order for us to hold the property owner responsible and make them pay the bill, we have to send the notice. Otherwise, it would be the taxpayers mowing everyone's yard every year."
Last year, it cost more than $140,000 to mow yards and clean up debris. We're only a few months into this year and that bill is already higher than all of last year -- more than $162,000. The homeowner or the bank eventually pays the city back for those expenses. News 2 asked why there was such a big increase, but the city staff didn't know.
The city doesn't have the staff or the time to go out and search for these kinds of properties. They rely on you to let them know. You can call the city of Greensboro at 373-2111 to report problems you see in your neighborhood. People living in Winston-Salem need to call 727-8000. If you're in High-Point, call 883-8517.
Even though it seems like more and more properties are falling apart, a local realtor told News 2, things could be worse because many people foreclosed on actually remain in their homes and keep taking care of them until they are evicted.
ReMax broker Rick Godbee said, "They can't pay. A lot of the time, they're just sitting there waiting for someone to contact them to tell them what to do. A lot of the time when I show up, they're grateful that somebody is there to tell them what to do. "
Godbee says banks often hire a company to take care of a home after the homeowner is officially out. However, it can sometimes take months or even years before the property is actually taken away.
In addition, you can actually look up a lot of information online and even file a report in Greensboro. Visit the following website and you can search for a property and find out what action has already been taken and whether the city even knows the home is in trouble: http://webapps.greensboro-nc.gov/loepublic/
WFMY News 2