4 Expert Tips to Deal with an Abandoned House in Dallas

Posted on September 24, 2017 | Back to blog

Dallas Real Estate abandoned housevacant house

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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, and/or graffiti. If there is a derelict house in your Dallas neighborhood, we are here to educate you on your rights to take action.

What to Do About the Abandoned House Next Door

Nearly 13% of Dallas homes are vacant, according to data from RealtyTrac. These homes are frequently taken over by a financial institution, or many spend months or even years awaiting a foreclosure sale, creating 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.

1.) 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. Please refrain from taking action. 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.

2.) Call the property owner

In Dallas, the owner of a vacant property is required by law to post a sign clearly showing contact information, including a phone number.

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

3.) Report the abandoned property to the authorities

You can try reporting an unsafe abandoned house to your local housing code authority. In most cases, the Dallas 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.

Dallas law requires that all vacant homes must be registered with the government within 30 days of vacancy. Failure to register a building could result in fines ranging from $500 to $2000. The City of Dallas also inspects vacant homes annually for code violations. If any violations are found, the property owner must submit a plan of action for correcting the problems.

4.) Contact your Dallas We Buy Ugly Houses® agent

Your local We Buy Ugly Houses agent specializes in fixing up “ugly” properties and may be able to get in touch with the property owner on your behalf and even negotiate the sale of the property. 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 today.

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