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Neighbor of dilapidated home speaks up again, homeowners given another year to make upgrades

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BATON ROUGE - It's been on and off the knockdown list and in and out of tax sales for years, but the city-parish keeps giving the property owners time to clean it up. Neighbors argue that time has been up and are voicing their frustration to 2 On Your Side.

Peter Albert has been living next to the Southern Heights home on 77th Avenue for a couple of decades. He says over the last six years, the property has deteriorated beyond repair. He first contacted 2 On Your Side in early 2020, but his battle started long before then. Albert says his neighbors vacated the home in 2016, leaving behind a property that was unlivable then.

"Since then, it's just deteriorated more and more," Albert said.

From the front, the home in the 2800 block of 77th Avenue appears to be fine, but the back is a different story.

"They have three large holes, large enough for a small Volkswagen," he said. "The city has sent people out over and over and it keeps going back for condemnation and the city council for some reason keeps extending them more and more time."

Albert says a crew recently placed a tarp on the roof, but the damage is done. A tree grows through the roof and the holes have allowed water to accumulate in the house.

"Everything inside the house is black, full of black mold from the floor to the ceiling," he said.

In the back of the property, there's more water. A pool, which Albert says hasn't been used in decades, overflows when it rains.

"The water is beyond black and contaminated and it flows out onto my property and down my driveway," Albert said.

He called and had the electric meter removed from the house. He's waiting for someone to do something.

Last February, Metro councilwoman Chauna Banks told 2 On Your Side that the property owners needed more time. Last month, the metro council rescinded the condemnation on the books, giving the property owners another year to make changes. Albert is wondering how much longer this can go on.

"If you can't get something done in six years--you don't have the resources, you don't have the financial stability--you're just not going to get it done," he said.

Albert says he's tired of looking at it, smelling it and having unwelcome guests like snakes, raccoons, and rats. He doesn't see the property bouncing back when it's already so damaged and says the line has to be drawn somewhere.

The property has been in and out of tax sales for several years. There was once a foreclosure attached to the property that has been dismissed. WBRZ has asked the city-parish about what this property owner must to do stay out of condemnation, and 2 On Your Side is waiting for more information.

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