Muskegon Heights woman says abandoned home is eyesore, drives down property values

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MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. — A homeowner in Muskegon Heights reached out to the FOX 17 Problem Solvers about a neighborhood eyesore.

Jean Lambouths says a nearby abandoned home near her residence on Leahy Street is decaying and falling apart, and the grass hasn't been cut in years.   She's lived in her home for 28 years and has watched homes in the area deteriorate.

"It makes my property value go down," Lambouths said.  "I had a realtor out here and he said this house in particular made our house go down thousands of dollars because it's being unkept."

Muskegon Heights Fire Chief Christopher Dean says the city has taken huge steps in tackling blight and demolishing homes.

He says another problem is predatory buyers from out of state who buy homes on the cheap at the county auction, hoping to sell them for a quick profit.   He says when they don't sell, the owner doesn't maintain the property or pay property taxes and lets it revert back to the county through foreclosure.

In the meantime, the city has to go through a drawn-out process to get legal access to mow the lawn.   Dean says that a couple of years ago, the city and the county came up with a plan to stop predatory buyers from purchasing homes at future auctions, preventing situations like this.

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