Gov. Beshear signs law to help cities reclaim abandoned property costs

Billy Smith
Billy Smith
Bob Henderson
Bob Henderson

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - There's a new law in Kentucky that Louisville officials say is going to help them out quite a bit.

It deals with vacant houses and who's paying to take care of them.

Over the past 8 years, Louisville has spent more than $9 million taking care of abandoned and vacant homes. On Thursday Gov. Steve Beshear signed a law that will help the city get some cash back.

On days like Thursday, Billy Smith sits on the porch of his Kinross Boulevard home. And he sees the thick, tall grass in a vacant home that sits right across the street from where he lives.

"Oh yeah, it's an eyesore," Smith said. "The grass is 4 foot tall. It's just pitiful."

He says the abandoned home across the street has sat vacant for months.

"I call it nasty," Smith said as he looked across the street.

Smith says he's tried to get something done about the overgrown lawn.

"I mean, it's just pitiful," Smith said. "It used to be a nice home once upon a time. My grandparents lived there when I was a kid."

Now there's a new law to combat eyesores and help cities recoup the costs to manage them.

"It gives cities and counties more authority to go after property owners to reclaim the expenses related to abandoned property," Beshear said.

Of the $9 million the city spent taking care of abandoned properties over the past eight years, only about $800,000 was recovered.

"It's letting people that have the mortgages on these houses say, 'well, it's not in our name, why should we do anything?'" Louisville Metro Council member Bob Henderson said. "They hold the mortgage though. We have to cut and clean this."

State and city leaders say the new law is one step in the right direction.

"It moves us up in collecting our liens," Henderson said.

Copyright 2011 WAVE News. All rights reserved.