In effort to fight blight, list with top 10 property code violators released

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - It's no secret, blight is a big problem in the Bluff City.

Now, a new list shows the top 10 property owners with the most code violations.

Memphis attorney Steve Barlow has spent over a decade on the front lines battling the blight. He leads Neighborhood Preservation Inc., a non-profit that works to remove barriers to fix blighted properties.

"We have a lot of challenges with abandonment and vacant, unutilized real estate. We have somewhere in the neighborhood of 15,000 abandoned city houses and several thousand abandoned multi-family units," he said.

To help Memphians get a better sense of the problem, the Blight Elimination Steering Team--which is made of people representing 40 groups that share a common mission to fight blight--put together this list of property owners with the most code enforcement violations in the first quarter of 2018, using publicly-available data.

"Typically they're going to be structural concerns at a residential property, junky yards, storage that's not allowed on the porch or in the yard," Barlow said.

Records show nearly all the properties on the list are owned by corporations.

Barlow said he hopes those on the list will be pressured to act.

"There's an opportunity to correct the violations and to get off the list," he said.

That would bring us one step closer to beautifying the city.

We have reached out to Cerberus Capital Management--which manages properties with the most code violations on the list---and they sent us this statement.

"FirstKey Homes is committed to the Memphis area and our portfolio of high quality single-family rental properties are not part of the "blight" that this civic group is fighting to eliminate. To the contrary, these homes are well-maintained properties for growing families and are helping to provide affordable housing options in Memphis."

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