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Abandoned Homes in El Paso

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POSTED: Thursday, February 23, 2012 - 6:55pm

UPDATED: Friday, February 24, 2012 - 11:21am

EL PASO-Just about every neighborhood has one, an ugly, run down abandoned home.

Sometimes these unsightly houses are boarded up with plywood or fenced in with wire and labeled with a "No Trespassing" sign. Houses like that, while vacant, are at least in compliance with the City of El Paso.

Sometimes these houses are empty and unsecured. Trash is strewn across the property. The yard is not maintained and often uninvited guests are common.

Bill Stern works for El Paso's Environmental Services. He says there are a lot of these buildings in the city. "It's unsafe to have an open and abandoned building collapsing out in the middle of a neighborhood."

Stern and his Code Compliance Officer's locate these properties. They look for unsafe conditions and violations of the municiple code. Last year however, there efforts were halted because of a Texas Supreme Court ruling. In that case, a Dallas homeowner sued the city because the city demolished their abandoned property.

El Paso got the green light in January 2012. The city has new rules in place and will be moving forward with these abandoned homes by rehearing almost 18 cases. They will begin to hear about 40 new ones.

Stern says in the next few months his office will be contacting owners about their abandoned properties, condemning and securing other properties and in worse case scenarios, demolishing a few.

To report an abandoned home in El Paso, just call Environmental Services at 541-4000 or Code Compliance Division 599-3742.

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