Neighbors forced to call 311 multiple times on overgrown abandoned home

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Neighbors are frustrated after they've had to call 311 to clean up an abandoned property.

Kelli Cook checked the 311 records for the North Memphis house and found complaints about weeds going back to 2014.

No one has paid taxes on the property in years and neighbors said something needs to change.

A year ago Sharon Grey decided to move into her grandparents old home on Davis Street.

"This was always referred to as home--all my life," Grey said.

But her beloved home is next door to a house with grass about 3 feet high, and the unattended trees in the backyard are creeping in onto Grey's property.

"The wood that was on that fence has been knocked down by trees and everything," she said.

So, who's responsible for cleaning up the house? The homeowner, of course, and according to property records the house belongs to Willie M Manning.

"When she was living, she would have someone come and cut the yard on a regular basis at least twice a month," Grey said.

Manning has been deceased for nearly 10 years. A complaint through the city's 311 system yielded a promise to cut the grass before June 5.

But what's taking so long for a permanent fix?

"Well the reason why it's taking too long sometimes is we want to be sure. This is real property and it's owned by somebody," Environmental Court Judge Patrick Dandridge said.

Judge Dandridge can't speak specifically to this case due to legal reasons, but he said it can be a long process.

"It requires legal research. It requires lawyers to go out and perform a title search to find out if they had any kids and try to locate where the children are," he said.

And not to mention Judge Dandridge said he currently has about a thousand cases dealing with dilapidated houses.

It's no secret Memphis has a blight problem, which is evident by the countless other abandoned homes in North Memphis.

"It almost kills me on a daily basis to come home and look and see all the homes that are no longer being cared for," Grey said.

So what can you do if you're in a similar situation?

Judge Dandridge said it's important to continue reporting deteriorating homes or other eyesores to the city and county.

Or you can organize neighborhood clean-ups. Memphis City Beautiful will provide you the tools free of charge to do it.

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