Homeowners upset over garbage-filled home

April 27, 2011 4:18:47 PM PDT
Some neighbors are voicing concerns over the condition of an abandoned home in northwest Houston.

The city already has boarded up dozens of other abandoned homes in the Inwood Park Terrace neighborhood.

The complex was built in the mid-80s during the oil bust and is now going through another economic downturn, and for the few remaining homeowner, they say they're running out of patience with absentee landlords.

Inwood Park Terrace has about 100 homes, more than half of which are vacant and boarded up. Fifty-one have been ordered to be secured by the city, and more plywood was going up over windows on Wednesday.

That might be enough to discourage the few remaining homeowners, but instead, a garbage-filled home is the final straw.

"The garage is filled with trash; the front door's bent open; children have been running up in here," neighbor Linda Fulton said.

Fulton lives across the house that's turned into a Dumpster.

"At least board it up," she said. "The city, find them, you clean it up, make them pay for it."

It's the latest in a long list of problems in this neighborhood, including two fires at vacant houses last year. Vagrants are problem but so are burglaries.

"Watch your vehicles and what you got, assume they want," neighbor Oscar Wiggins said.

It's the broken-window-attracting-crime theory; here, it's the broken garage door attracting garbage. When the city inspector was in the neighborhood earlier this month, trash wasn't.

Now neighborhood protection says steps will be taken.

"The owner was actually sent a notice and given a date by which to correct the violation, and also the inspectors themselves would also maintain communication with them if need be," said Denise Thomas with City Neighborhood Protection.

Unless it's rented out again, this house might soon have plywood boarded up on it windows. But for Fulton, there are worse things to see.

"Snakes in the yard, rats running through here -- it's a health hazard," she said.

It is a health hazard, and the city now is investigating, but there's a lot for it to look into. One explanation for all the trash in one garage is that the garbage collection contract for the area was canceled several weeks ago, so they have no garbage services right now.

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