SPOKANE, Wash. - Abandoned properties, also called "Zombie Homes," are much more than an eyesore. The City of Spokane says they're dangerous and costing you money.
They say a single, abandoned property can reduce nearby property values by sixty thousand dollars. In Spokane, there are one thousand of them; almost a one hundred million dollar loss.
For Joe Eaton, its the beauty of Spokane that has kept him in the area for over two decades, however he can barely stand the view from his front porch right now. “I'm a little uncomfortable with it, obviously,” shares Eaton.
While signs are up, it hasn't stopped people from calling the abandoned properties home.
Eaton says, “instead of living in the house, they're living behind it.”
Squatters have been bringing in more garbage and more people, not suitable for a family-friendly neighborhood. He's hoping the City will take care of them as he's seen them do with other homes in the area. Assistant City of Spokane attorney Matt Folsom says Spokane is on board.
He explains, “they are a threat to public safety, they are a threat to public health, they bring down property values, we don't collect tax revenue on them so they really hit a lot of negatives.”
At a state level though, he says there have been road blocks that allows the number of abandoned homes to rise and they'd like to see some changes, starting with the amount of time it takes to get a home in to foreclosure status.
“Once that homeowner leaves, it creates that empty space and that empty space is the void that negative activity floods in to,” shares Folsom.
The City is also hoping to take the responsibility of cleaning and maintaining the property off of their hands. Folsom says the cost to clean just one property can cost up to thirty thousand dollars and because of the way the law is written, tax payers are picking up the bill.
He adds, “I don't think that's fair, I think it should be the lien holders and the owners who let the property deteriorate to that state in the first place.
Something Joe hopes will bring the beauty back to his block.
“The house here on the corner, there's six kids in that house. There's a lot of young people in this neighborhood,” he shares.
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