Neighbor calls WAVE 3 for help with vacant home

Hattie Smyzer
Hattie Smyzer

By Scott Harvey - bio | email
Posted by Charles Gazaway - email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A Louisville woman's fight about an abandoned house next to hers has gone nowhere and she is now turning to WAVE 3. The city says it is the owner's responsibility to clean it up and the owner says they will not tear it down unless the city says to.

It seems that it is a battle in limbo with both sides pointing fingers. But the woman who has lives next to the house says she doesn't care who does it, she just wants it gone.

"I don't think it's fair because I pay my taxes," said 74-year-old Hattie Smyzer. "I try to keep my property up."

Smyzer has been dealing with an abandoned house next to hers for the past seven years. "Sometimes I can't even sit on the porch because of the stink that comes out of this basement."

Smyzer says she constantly sees people coming in and out of the West Chestnut Street home, stealing everything from copper to furniture.

"I would call the police so much they know my voice," said Smyzer.

The Louisville Department of Codes and Regulations told WAVE 3 they have had an active case open on the house since 2003 and it has been vacant the entire time. They also told WAVE 3 they have inspected the house 70 times and recently fined the new owners, American Tax Funding Servicing, nearly $7,000. City officials say it is the owner's responsibility to clean and maintain the property.

ATFS, based in Florida, told me they purchase properties with tax liens and sell them. Smyzer says she has called the company to complain about the home's condition several times.

"I said, 'I live next door to it.' But I said, 'I want to know if you want to live next door to it,'" said Smyzer. "And any other of them people downtown that just keep giving me a hard time and not trying to do something about this house."

Smyzer says she wants to see the home torn down, but an ATFS spokesperson says that will not happen until the city demands it. Smyzer says she has asked city inspectors why they haven't made the call.

"Talking about its historic," said Smyzer. "What's historic about this place?  It's rotten."

The agent representing the property for ATFS tells WAVE 3 they would send someone over to mow the yard, board up windows, and reassess the property's value Wednesday.

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