HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) - Residents living in a southtowns suburb say they are being forced to take charge of the upkeep of a vacant home in an effort to protect their own properties.
One or two homes abandoned due to foreclosure can bring down a whole neighborhood. So homeowners in a southtowns neighborhood are taking action. The Hamburg home is apparently in bank foreclosure and the family that lived there moved out.
Dick Conklin lives next door.
"My son cuts the lawn in the back, and the guy on the other side cuts the lawn in the front."
Conklin and his neighbor are keeping up the lawn and other maintenance because the bank that owns it, or at least pays the taxes on it, does not.
Joe Gerace said, "He cuts the grass. He really doesn't have to, but he feels...look how high it is...and people just feel it's just a bad [thing]."
Conklin says electricity to the home is off, which means the sump pump isn't running, and he's discovered the basement had flooded. So he ran an extension cord to keep the house next door dry.
"When I got it dried out, I went down and looked at the panel. The main switch was on, and the one for the sump pump was on. All the rest of them were off, but evidently the power is shut off outside then," Conklin said.
He and the neighbors know if this house goes downhill, so will their property values. Even though the bank is foreclosing, attorney Amy Gathings of the WNY Law Center said, until the bank takes title the former homeowners might still be responsible.
She explained, "The house could be sitting empty for years, but then they could get summoned into housing court for the property condition, and they are still responsible. They are on the hook."
News 4 is reaching out to the loan servicer to learn what their plans are for that property.
If you are on the verge of losing your home to foreclosure, you can call the WNY Law Center's Foreclosure Prevention Project at 1-855-969-3775.
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