Taking action on homes in the Valley

Published 7:23 pm Wednesday, January 30, 2019

We’ve written several times already this year about dilapidated houses scattered throughout LaFayette.

I want to be clear though, this issue isn’t contained to just LaFayette. It’s in Valley, Lanett, West Point and throughout all of Alabama. Probably throughout all of the United States.

However, cities are starting to take a proactive stance to let homeowners know they must take care of their properties. Becoming a homeowner, in many cases, is a wonderful feat, something to be celebrated after years of working hard and saving the necessary funds. For others, it is a home that is passed down through the family.

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As great as being a homeowner can be, it also comes with responsibility. Just because a person owns a home, it doesn’t mean they can just let it fall apart. Tragedies happen, like a fire or flood, which can destroy a house and then it becomes more of a hassle than an enjoyment.

Other situations occur such as a family house being passed down through several generations, which is in bad shape and the money — or desire — isn’t there to fix up the home. So, it just sits there and gets progressively worse.

That’s an unfortunate situation, but it’s a common one.

Greater Valley Area cities have started to take steps to make their cities look more attractive. In late 2018, West Point cleaned up language in its dilapidated houses ordinance, and Lanett has said it will not stand for falling down structures in its city.

LaFayette is holding public hearings on 10 properties every week. And they are looking to send a message.

“Once they realize we have been tearing down houses, it’ll get people’s attention,” LaFayette Councilman Michael Ellis said. “We have been talking about this for a long time, and it’s time for action.”

Maybe tearing down houses is a blessing in disguise for some homeowners, and for others, perhaps it’s the realization needed to fix up the home.

It’s important for homeowners to realize if the city acts on the property and knocks it down, it doesn’t mean that person is off the hook. Cities will place a lien on the property in an attempt to recoup the money spent.

Either way, the homes must be cleaned up, and if it’s the homeowner doing what needs to be done, or it’s the city taking action, it’ll all make for a better, more attractive Greater Valley Area.