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Foreclosure townhome abandoned, rats chewing through neighbor’s walls

Foreclosures frustrating neighbors

“House full of rats” is the sign homeowner Lynn McGee hung on her neighbor’s door after desperately trying to get someone, anyone, to take responsibility for the rat infestation in the townhouse attached to her that has been vacant and in foreclosure for two years.

McGee says the rats have gnawed into her home, chewing through power wires and visiting her bedroom after dark. “It’s too much,” McGee told the Sun Sentinel. “I’m looking for someone to do something, but nobody wants to talk to you.”

In April 2011, the city filed a lien against the homeowner, charging $20 daily in fines for code violations, but the homeowner has not responded. The homeowner purchased the home in 2005 for $139,000 and after going foreclosure in 2009 and the lender received the final judgment in May 2010, the auction sail date was canceled and rescheduled for September 12, 2011.

Who is responsible?

According to the Sun Sentinel, Florida Default Law Group was handling the case, but it is unclear if they still represent the bank, and the firm is currently under investigation by the Florida Attorney General’s Office for its foreclosure practices. Bank of New York Mellon is listed as the plaintiff in the foreclosure documents, but they are only the trustee for a mortgage-backed security serviced by Bank of America.

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Homeowners like McGee who are plagued by neighboring homes that have been vacant for years find themselves in an endless maze of accountability as they seek resolution on issues such as rat infestations that cut power to vital appliances like stoves. It is unlikely that this problem will end any time soon as the number of foreclosures remain high and shadow inventories loom overhead.

Tara Steele is the News Director at The American Genius, covering entrepreneur, real estate, technology news and everything in between. If you'd like to reach Tara with a question, comment, press release or hot news tip, simply click the link below.



  1. Joe Loomer

    September 12, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Sooner or later this will cause a fire, an unfortunate and wholly preventable injury or death, and the true accountability hunt will begin – this time with criminal charges.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  2. Manhattan Beach Realtor

    September 16, 2011 at 9:55 am

    Large parts of the U.S. housing inventory are becoming uninhabitable after years of abandonment. Whoever officially holds title is legally responsible for the economic costs of deterioration, which, in many cases, means that banks will be stuck with these bills. This article's case of an attached townhouse makes the story murkier, but in many instances of detached dwellings that are deteriorating, the best solution would be for local governments to condemn, bulldoze, and replace return the land to nature until the next real estate boom allows them to offload properties. How this arrangement would work legally between title holders and local governments is another matter, entirely!!!

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