Many people have had to deal with messy neighbors and property owners. A neglected property can be an invitation for vermin, crime, and other sanitation issues. On top of it all, an unkempt property in your neighborhood or on your street can drag down the value of your home. With all the properties on the market today, why would someone want to deal with messy neighbors when they could get a house in a neighborhood without the eyesores. Luckily, there are ways to get negligent property owners to own up to their responsibilities.
How to Report the Negligence of Property Owners
Start with a direct approach. There isn't always a need to get authorities involved, as you may be able to handle the problem directly with the property owner. If the owner is living on the property, you can approach the owner and voice your concerns in a calm manner. If the owner does not live on the property, try your best to make contact with the person over the phone about the issue. Many times, this is all it will take to have the problem fixed.
Ensure that the person really is the property owner. If the person on the property is actually just a tenant, you have another step before going to authorities. Find out who is renting out the property and contact that person. You can do this through your county's property tax assessor's office. Once you have this information, send a letter to the landlord, including pictures of the negligence for added effect.
Complain to the lender of the property if it is in a foreclosed state. Do not settle for a customer service representative on this one. Make sure you speak with management, and go all the way up to the chief executive officer if that is what it takes. If this isn't giving you fast enough results, go to your state's governmental website and find the state mortgage regulator. Contact the regulator.
Enlist help if necessary. If you are in a homeowners association, contact the group and submit a formal request for it to take action. If at this point you are unable to get satisfaction, contact your local government officials. Find the number for your local public health department and call the office to explain what is going on. Make sure to take note of all sanitation and safety issues involving the property.
Contact your elected officials if all else fails. There should be representatives on the local and county level you can contact, and they are often able to get the wheels moving when other bureaucratic agencies have stalled.
Contact a lawyer if you want to take this even further. A real estate attorney would be best for this. You may be able to sue the homeowner's association if it didn't resolve the issue, or the owner of the property. Remember that these cases can drag on and be expensive, so this step should only be used as a last resort.
Curtis Fease started writing professionally in 2007. He has a dual bachelor's degree in psychology and criminal justice from Augusta State University.