Neighbors say abandoned homes are causing rodent problems

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) When you drive onto Jourolman street they're the first thing you see, two abandoned houses side by side, windows boarded up and trash filling the yards.

"Ever since we been here this house right here is just getting worse and the rats always coming up to our house."

Yes, he said rats. Neighbor Robert McClain says they're coming from the abandoned homes are making their way into his, threatening his family and his puppy, Doodles.

"The main thing I'm worried about is if they attack her, I love that dog to death," he says.

Code enforcement tells Local 8 News they've been out to this property more than 24 times in the past four years. They say they've mowed and picked up trash but neighbors want to know why more isn't being done.

"Called code enforcement about 10 times telling them they need to do something to demolish it or something," says McClain.

But code enforcement says it's not that easy.

"It is the government and it is private property and it is a very detailed process we go through where we have to follow due process. People have rights and we have to follow due process," says David Brace, director of Knoxville Public Service.

The city demolishes about 70 houses a year similar to these.

"We have a system set in place where we give notice to the owner and we go through a process hoping someone will take responsibility for the property. If they don't then we go through a public hearing."

But that process can be lengthy and take a toll on neighbors.

"I understand how bad it is to have a house like that nearby but, there is a really good process in place it just takes a little bit of time," says Brace.

Both of these homes were bought by a couple back in 1947. The trustee on the deed lives in Texas, Local 8 News was unsuccessful in reaching her.

If you have one of these homes in your neighborhood you can call 311 to report them.

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