The Real Deal Miami

Cities find empty houses make bad neighbors

June 23, 2008 02:04PM

Squatters, vandals and other miscreants are creating headaches for South Florida residents who live among the thousands of foreclosed homes that are proving an increasing burden for municipal governments. Empty houses, many stripped of furnishings, feature overgrown lawns, swampy pools and broken windows. These conditions lower property values throughout neighborhoods. Many homeowners in cities throughout the region are critical of laws that can allow months to pass before government contractors can legally clean lots, mow lawns, board windows and correct more serious problems at vacant properties. Other laws prevent real estate agents from selling foreclosed homes when cities won’t turn water on for inspections.