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OKC Code Enforcement Cracks Down On Abandoned Homes

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The process to either clean up the property or tear it down is costly for all taxpayers and can take years. The process to either clean up the property or tear it down is costly for all taxpayers and can take years.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

Oklahoma homeowners want to take back their neighborhoods.

"It's ugly," homeowner Les Taylor said.

Homeowner Lisa Foster agreed.

"I don't like it. It doesn't help the neighborhood."

They're sick of looking out their windows and driving down their streets looking at rundown, boarded up homes with unkept yards. These eyesores are a community wide problem that's only getting worse.

"It's an attractive place for nuisances, crimes escalate in those structures," Oklahoma City code enforcement manager Charles Locke said.

But legally, the process to either clean up the property or tear it down is costly for all taxpayers and can take years.

"I wish somebody would do something about it," homeowner Suzi Epps said.

Now someone is.

Oklahoma City planning director Russell Claus prompted a study to determine the impact these buildings have on property value, safety, security and taxpayer's cost.

"This has been a growing issue and we think it's having a significant detrimental impact on the city," Russell Claus said.

His team is counting every dilapidated building, then coming up with a plan to clean them up, at the owner's expense.

"We would like for these buildings to pay the cost to the community that they're incurring," Claus said.

Homeowners are ready to see change.

"Whoever owns the home, either they need to sell them, tear them down, auction them off," Foster said.

"Houses have a personality and they're still there so they can be regenerated and become viable parts of the neighborhood," Epps said.

It's going to be at least a few months before we start seeing a difference. The study won't be complete until late summer.

Also, a tougher new state law speeds up the process for homeowners to fix their property. It cuts the timeline in half, to 18 months.

If you see a property that needs the attention of city code enforcement, call them at (405)-297-2535.

Click here for a list of violations.

Click here to make a complaint online.

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