Residents fed up with abandoned Belmont County home

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Neighbors said the problem is simple, but the answer is not, because an out-of-state bank owns the property and local officials said they don’t have the power to do anything.

People living in one Lansing neighborhood say rotting trash has been piling up at a neighboring home and it has created an extreme health hazard.

According to neighbors, the house was abandoned last year, when the couple who lived there got a divorce and both left the area. Now the neighbors are left to suffer the consequences of the trash, stench and wild animals.

Broken windows, moldy siding, grass nearly knee high, and that’s not the worst part.

“I don’t care about the shape of the house. It’s the garbage that’s got us. It’s summer now. It’s humid. We’re smelling it all the time,” said neighbor, Debbie Sansone.

Then there are rats.

“And we’ve had rats chew into our garbage cans to get into our garbage,” Sansone said.

The trash is inside the house, it’s also piled on the back porch, and mounded up on a small trailer parked at the back of the lot near the Lansing Community Center, where kids play and senior citizens go for activities.

“Well there was a rat that was running around by the front doors and the seniors couldn’t get into the building. And so the senior coordinator had to kill the rat,” said Lansing Community Board member, Jim Hench.

The neighbors have gone to the Belmont County Health Department.

“Most of the complaints we get for garbage, we send an order out to the property owner. With this individual property, the property owner has vacated, and there’s back taxes owed on the property,” said Rich Lucas with the Health Department.

Neighbors said the out-of-state bank has a man stop by every month to take pictures. They’ve asked him to do something about the trash.

“He told me that the garbage is considered personal property and that it cannot be removed,” Sansone added.

Lucas said, “We’ve tried to contact the bank in California and can’t track anybody down to get the property cleaned up.”

They said it also attracts neighborhood cats, but they said the cats are Okay because at least they can to do something about the rats.

The Pease Township Trustees said they’ve also been trying to contact the bank that holds the mortgage.

They’ve been told that bank is in Irving, Texas.

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