4 tips to deal with an abandoned house in Atlanta

4 tips to deal with an abandoned house in Atlanta

Vacant houses can attract crime, create health hazards, and hurt your property value. Left abandoned too long, these unpleasant eyesores can suffer broken windows, holes in the roof, rodent infestations, graffiti, and worse. If there is a derelict house in your Atlanta neighborhood, you need to know your rights so you can take action.

What to do about the abandoned house next door

More than 20% of homes in Atlanta are vacant, according to data from RealtyTrac. These homes have frequently been taken over by a financial institution. Many spend months or even years awaiting a foreclosure sale. In the meantime, they can become a public nuisance.

Before you do anything, understand that just because no one is living in a house doesn’t necessarily mean it’s abandoned. If a house is undergoing renovation or construction, it might not be considered legally vacant.

However, if no new work has been performed in the last 30 days, no one is living in the house, and the utilities are disconnected or not being used, then the house is probably considered abandoned. That means there are steps you can take to protect your neighborhood.

Whatever you do, don’t trespass.

Living near an abandoned property is frustrating. You may be tempted to go pick up the trash or cut down the weeds. Unfortunately, it’s illegal to do anything without permission from the property owner.

The last thing you want is a citation for trespassing. Worse, you could be held financially liable for any damage you accidentally cause to the property.

As tempting as it is to fix “just one thing” on a vacant property, experts warn that you should keep your distance. There are other ways you can handle the situation.

Call the property owner.

In Atlanta, the owner of a vacant property is required by law to post a sign clearly showing contact information, including a phone number. You could try calling the owner directly.

In many cases, a vacant property is owned by a bank or large financial institution that may not be aware of any problems. Reach out to them and calmly explain. Offer to send photos of trouble spots, such as broken windows. The owner might send someone out to clean up the property.

Report the abandoned property to the authorities.

You can also report an unsafe abandoned house to your local housing code authority. In most cases, the Atlanta government will contact the homeowner with a formal request to correct the problems.

If the owner doesn’t take action in a reasonable timeframe, often the local authority will hire a contractor to do the work, and then place a lien on the property to cover the cost.

Atlanta law requires that all vacant homes must be registered with the government within 30 days of vacancy. It costs $100 to register a vacant residential building with the city of Atlanta for 12 months. If the property is still vacant a year later, and it has any housing or fire code violations, the fee rises to $250.

Contact your Atlanta We Buy Ugly Houses® agent.

Your local We Buy Ugly Houses® agent may be able to get in touch with the property owner on your behalf and even negotiate the sale of the property. That’s because We Buy Ugly Houses® specializes in fixing up “ugly” properties. What was once a messy abandoned house could soon become a beautiful home and an asset to your neighborhood. To find out more, contact We Buy Ugly Houses Atlanta today.