Neighbors near Orange Mound want blighted house cleaned up

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- James Liggins has a bird's eye view of the house across the street from his home on Douglas, but it's not birds he is seeing.

"Real bad rodent problems, rats. My neighbor the other day told me he had killed 18," Liggins told WREG.

Neighbors said the rats are coming from the abandoned house at 3235 Douglas. No one has lived there for 10 years, but plenty of junk and weeds and brush have taken a life of their own.

"The backyard, the overgrowth problem, weeds 12 to 15 feet high," said Barbara Buggs, who owns rental property next door and has been trying for months to get the city code enforcement to do something.

"I have called. I have gone on-line. I have written a letter to the mayor," she said. "The response has been 'oh we closed your case because a car was parked in the driveway. It looks like someone lived there so we closed the case.'"

Turns out that vehicle belongs to a man who lives across the street. He told us lot of the debris at the house was his too.
He said he was taking care of the house for a family after the person living there died, but when they stopped paying him, he stopped cutting the grass.

When we asked him who that owner was, he walked away.

Neighbors said someone from the city came by a few days ago, but apparently they didn't do anything about the back and sides of the house, where there is now a thicket of junk and weeds.

In fact, when we asked the city about it again Friday, they sent us pictures showing the front yard had been cut and the case closed.

The entire thing left neighbors frustrated and wondering what it will take to get action.

"Homeowners should be held accountable for their property that's abandoned. That is a haven for rats and ain't no telling what else," says Liggins.

After WREG contacted the city, they sent out another inspection crew. Then they emailed us and confirmed the house is "not" occupied and the city will begin cleaning  up the back yard immediately and bill the property owner.

A lien will be placed on the property if the city isn't reimbursed for clean up expenses.