There is nothing worse than having an abandoned house close to your home. Not only will the abandoned house create an unpleasant sight, but it can also bring property value down and create hazards. If you live in a neighborhood with an abandoned house with a lot of trash, you may be tempted to remove the trash to make the property more presentable. Before you do this, you need to look at some tips that can help you do this legally.
Know Your Local Land Laws
Before you do anything, you need to take the time to look at the community codes regarding vacant houses. Every town will have an ordinance that deals with abandoned property and you need to familiarize yourself with them. The ordinances are very specific particularly in regards to the yard cleanliness and the trash. If there is too much trash then you may need a reliable junk removal company in Cobb County to help you. The ordinance will often cover broken windows and peeling paint as well.
Matters which could affect public safety will also be covered in the ordinance. These matters could be abandoned animals, tree limbs on power lines and deserted pools which could attract insects. There could also be additional rules for abandoned properties which are part of a homeowners association.
If the property is part of a homeowner association, the homeowner would have signed a contract which provides the association with certain rights. In these cases, the association could force the maintenance of the property and then send the bill to the homeowner. The law regarding vacant homes in your area could be available online from the website of your local government or at the municipal building.
Check With The Municipality
Once you have familiarized yourself with the local land laws, you should consider contacting your local municipality. This should be done if you feel that the home’s condition is in violation of the laws. When you contact the municipality, you should ask them to fix the situation at the house.
In many locations, municipal inspectors are more likely to respond to an abandoned house if there are complaints from other residents. If there is a violation of the laws, the inspectors will place a sign on the property and allow the homeowner ten days to correct the problem. If the problem is not addressed, the city will take care of the infraction.
Most counties stay on top of these complaints because they do not want to see the property value in their area drop. This will reduce the amount of property tax that they can collect and will limit the funding that they have. It is important to note that inspectors can handle small issues, but larger repairs to the property cannot be completed without the involvement of the property owner.
If there are larger issues than cutting the grass or removing trash from the front of the property, a notice of violation will be sent to the owners. If there is no response to the notice, a summons will be issued. These cases will be taken to court and could be resolved within 60 days.
Do Not Trespass On The Property
Going through official channels can take time, and you might want to remove trash from the property before the municipality deadline. This is something that you should avoid as you must not trespass on the property. Even if the property has been abandoned for months, you could still be in trouble legally if you enter the property without the consent of the owner.
You could be held liable for trespassing if you move any of the trash on the property or cut the overgrown grass. The owner of the abandoned property could target your insurance policy to claim damages for your trespassing.
Contacting The Homeowner
The fastest and most direct solution to trash in an abandoned house will be to contact the owner. If the owner has left the community, you should be able to work out an agreement with them where you will be able to maintain the house, and they pay for the costs. In most cases, the homeowner should provide you with permission to maintain the exterior of the house and remove any trash that has accumulated.
If you are unsure of the identity of the homeowner, you can research the local county records for property deeds. This will list the owner, and you will then have to research how to contact them. If the house has gone through a foreclosure, the ownership will be with a bank. At this point, you will need to contact the bank because they will often have a system in place to deal with vacant properties.
Removing trash from an abandoned house may seem like the best action to take. However, you are not legally allowed to do so without the permission of the owner.