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Demopolis officials target dilapidated properties

The City of Demopolis building officials have been working to implement a new process of dealing with dilapidated housing.

According to the city’s Building Department Superintendent Julius Rembert, the mayor’s office, city attorney, building department and police department have joined forces to aggressively put into action a plan that would result in the demolition of dilapidated properties. 

Currently there are five properties targeted by the city where liens have been filed. Those property are located on Chestnut Street, South Front Street, Washington Street, North Front Street, and Third Avenue.

“Imagine watching large rats run through your yard everyday on their way to the rundown house next door, or taking cover as large buzzards fly out of the abandoned house next door and perch upon your roof, leaving feces.  These are just a few of the reports from residents of Demopolis who are frustrated with property owners who are not living up to their responsibility to maintain their property.  These neglected or dilapidated homes not only bring the property values down of the neighboring homes, but also threaten the health and safety of our residents,” Rembert said.

The building department is asking those who own property, or know of a possible dilapidated property, to contact them at 334-349-6840.

Rembert said it is important that property owners take care of their properties prior to the city stepping in.

“If you own a dilapidated property or know of someone who does, it is very important that you take responsibility and make repairs or have it demolished,” he said.

Rembert added that before demolishing a property it should be exterminated to prevent rodents, snakes and other creatures nesting there from moving to other homes in the neighborhood. 

If the city  steps in and demolishes a property, all costs are assessed by Probate Court to be paid by the owner.

“We want to motivate people to take care of their property,” Rembert said. “The city doesn’t want to step in, but when people do not respond there’s not much we can do about it.”

(This article originally appeared in the Saturday, April 29, print edition of the Demopolis Times.)