Tennessee officials from Washington County are working to try to resolve the ever-increasing problem of abandoned houses and properties.
Among the primary issues being faced is that property owners are no longer maintaining their properties and the requirement is falling onto the shoulders of city workers. Though this is a problem within East Tennessee county, it is far from unique to that area alone.
Speaking to commissioners, County attorney John Rambo explained that this particular occurrence has swelled “all across the state of Tennessee and it’s only compounded by the housing crisis.”
Within Washington County alone, there are over 70 homes which are under review for this type of violation. The zoning administrator for the county, Mike Rutherford, explained that there are times when local governments must take action and responsibility for the upkeep of abandoned properties, including a growing number of foreclosures.
Cleaning up these properties ensures that the areas will not become hazardous and that the neighborhoods will remain safe. Efforts can include anything from cleaning and maintaining the yard to boarding up windows and doors.
Rutherford went on to say that there are times when a home has come to a certain degree of disrepair, the only choice is to demolish it. He added that there is little control in the hands of the counties over the costs of various forms of cleanups of abandoned properties, since the laws in the state prohibit the employees of the county from using equipment belonging to the county on private property.
He noted that there is no guarantee that it will be possible for the county to regain the funds that were spent on abandoned property cleanup.