Residents fight to condemn nearby abandoned home

MISSOURI CITY, TX (KTRK) -- At first glance, the home located at 2203 Victoria Court may not look like an eyesore, but look closer and you'll see what neighbors say is a house that's falling apart and infested with vermin.

"I've lived here for so long I knew when this was the finest area to live in. But now these neighborhoods are losing value, especially the homes in Meadowcreek," said Norm Johnson who lives across the street from the abandoned house.

For the last eight years Johnson and his neighbors have maintained the home's exterior.

"We got tired of looking at the weeds, of seeing the trash. This is where we live and you don't want it to look neglected," said neighbor Candy Myers.

Beyond appearances, Mr. Johnson and his neighbor say the abandoned home is driving down their own property value.

"I've mowed the yard for eight years. I've trimmed all of the hedges. I've trimmed the sidewalks. I trimmed the driveways. I've picked up all the litter, and it's an everyday ordeal. It's like I'm taking care of two houses. This mess is making my own home less valuable," Johnson said.

The city and the Meadowcreek Homeowners Association (HOA) both say they're unable to intervene until the owner of the home is identified. A spokesperson for the city says the house was inspected last month.

"During the inspection, the City found that the structure does not appear to be a candidate for demolition per the Missouri City Substandard Ordinance. Multiple unsuccessful attempts have previously been made by the City to contact the homeowner. However, the City is continuing these efforts and is currently in the process of reaching out again to the homeowner to proceed with the ongoing investigation of the home," said Missouri City spokesperson, Cory Stottlemyer, in a statement.

A board member of Meadowcreek HOA, who asked not to be identified, said that the organization lacks lacks the authority to enforce deed restrictions.

"They (the HOA) don't have any teeth. They won't take any action other than sending letters, and people refuse to do anything. They (the HOA) won't do anything because they don't want to open themselves up to lawsuits by the homeowners," said the board member.

Meanwhile Johnson says he's stuck in the middle, and his home is losing value.

"My taxes went up ten percent this year and my house value went down to what it was 35 years ago," Johnson told Eyewitness News. "If the HOA won't do anything, the city needs to step in, but they don't seem to want to do that, and I don't have faith that they're serious about this problem. That house has a hive of bees in the walls so big that even the exterminator says it's too hazardous to handle without tearing out the walls, and it's overrun with mice."

Mr. Johnson said he will, again, address the Missouri City Council on November 2.
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