There’s no shortage of problems with abandoned property. For starters, there’s just being there. Abandoned homes– mobile or otherwise– are a haven for all manner of furry vagrants. Mice, rats, raccoons. I have a firm belief that if claims of Big Foot’s sighting in Land Between the Lakes a few years ago is true, he’s now taken up residency in an abandoned mobile home somewhere near the lake.
They’re also a fire hazard, whether it be from flammable materials inside to easy targets for people who just really like to burn things.
And then there’s the problem of property value. Appraisers typically look at homes within a mile or two radius for determining the value of a house. A graveyard of rusted metal nearby doesn’t do much for increasing a home’s value.
The tricky part comes in what to do with them.
The reasons for abandonment vary. For some, the condition or value of the home makes it not worth the effort to sell, so they just walk away. Others don’t leave it behind by their own choice. No matter what the reason, they’re there.
The county has in recent years attempted to address the problem. Ordinances are on the books. Sometimes they’re easy to enforce and property owners are made to clean up their own mess. Other times, there’s not much the county can do.
And when they aren’t easy to enforce, the question becomes, what is the responsibility of the county? Should taxpayer dollars go to remove personal property, even if it’s not wanted by the person anymore? If the county can find the property owner and force them to pay is one possibility. But if the county can’t locate the owner, should it shoulder taxpayers with the burden of making someone else’s property more appealing?
And what if the property owner realizes the eye sore, but just has some strange proclivity to collecting rusted rat huts? Like a giant-sized version of Hoarders. (Editor’s note: I don’t normally watch much television and what I do tends to be of the fictional variety because of shows like Hoarders. Reality television is more disturbing than most things Hollywood comes up with).
The fiscal court is scheduled to meet again today (Nov. 1). Most likely, the subject of abandoned mobile homes will continue to be an issue for years to come. At least until those who can learn how to clean up after themselves.