Blight battle wages on in Lisbon - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Blight battle wages on in Lisbon


Some neighbors are in the middle of a blight battle in Lisbon. They've been fighting for years to clean up a property they said is dragging down their property values.

With a tree puncturing the roof, gutters falling off the frame and a house in deplorable condition, it's hard to miss the vacant property among a row of homes on River Road in Lisbon.

"It just gets worse and worse every day," said Brian Willett.

Brian and Louise Willett said the property, which is only feet away from their home, was abandoned five years ago and has fallen into complete disrepair.

"There's a struggle over who's going to pay for demolition," Brian said. "The town or the mortgage company?"

The Willetts turned to their town for help.

The town's attorney said they're actively working to gain access to the property to clean it up.

"The town is planning to enter into an agreement with the current owners to go onto the property to conduct any remediation that the town deems appropriate," said town attorney Kari Olsen.

Without formal permission from the owners, the town isn't allowed to make improvements to the home.

The property is in the beginning stages of foreclosure by GMAC Mortgage Company.

Their spokesperson said the company is committed to properly maintaining its properties, but "in this case, GMAC Mortgage is not a title holder to the property. Per investor guidelines, the company can only provide limited, routine maintenance to the property," said Nicole Boscia, GMAC Spokesperson.

GMAC won't say why they haven't fully foreclosed on the property, or give a timetable of when that may happen.

In the meantime, the property is in "real estate limbo."

GMAC needs to take full ownership, or the actual property owners need to allow the town to handle the property.

The town attorney reached out to GMAC numerous times, but isn't getting anywhere with them.

With nothing changing, the Willett's patience is wearing thin.

That's why they called Channel 3 Eyewitness News for help.

"Just day-by-day, week-by-week, month-by-month. Nothing is being done," Willett said.

The Willett's said they've recently tried to sell their home, but didn't have any luck. They said the property next door deterred potential buyers.

"It's depreciating my house in vale," Willett said.

"They all say they're working on it, but yet nothing has been done," Louise Willett said.

They both said they're even willing to be part of the solution, saying if the home was demolished they would consider buying the property.

Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.