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Cleaning Up

11th January 2009


Once we had right to enter the property, we thought we could get started. WRONG! On first inspection we noticed about a dozen or so syringes and other suspicious finds. We called the police. An officer arrived and went through the house removing dozens of used syringes, and various stashes of what he believed to be illicit narcotics. He was interested in looking through the workshop in the back but there were still 3 dogs fenced in the back yard. We were to call him back if we found other suspicious activity in the back building.

At this point I decided the best thing for me to do was to hire a company to remove everything in the house to storage and have the previous owner pay for the clean up and storage, or sell the contents at auction to pay for it. Great idea, but due to the enormity of the trash, the danger of being stuck by a contaminated needle, it would have simply cost much more than I could ever get for the property. The cost of the eviction, and the delay in gaining access to the property was already costing us more than we had counted on so we went another route. We made arrangements with family members of the previous owner for them to remove his personal property. The agreement was that they would pick up the dogs immediately, and remove everything from the house within a week. We would allow them to use the workshop in the back as storage for 30 days. In return they would pay for a 30 cubic yard dumpster and clean up the trash. They were not to just take the things of value and leave the trash. The previous owner, himself, was not to return to the property personally. It seemed like a fair agreement. That wasn’t how it turned out though.

It would take another month for the the Dad and brother of the previous owner to move out everything they wanted to get. The first day, they brought a U-Haul and took the most valuable thing from the house. At the end of the long first day the father told me that they had everything out of the house they wanted except for stuff in the garage. They would come back the next day and finish the garage and then over the next few weeks clean out the workshop. It was more than a week before I heard from them again. Over the next few weeks they made several trips back to the house to pick up the motorcycles and power tools left in the garage and shop. They made no attempt to pick up any more of the trash. To add insult to this situation, about 3 weeks into this ordeal, the house was broken into and some of the things left behind were taken along with many of my tools and supplies. I called the dad to let him know of the break in and let him know the police were investigating. That was the last I heard from any of the family, although the previous owners escapades would continue to haunt this renovation.

The dumpster was filled to the brim the first 2 days of the clean up and it hardly looked like we had made a dent in the mountain for garbage. After we had the dumpster picked up, we began to fill my little 4 x 8 trailer. Over the next several months we would fill that trailer 21 times and take it to the dump. Some of this was construction debris, but for the most part it was trash left in and around the house. During the first week of clean up we discovered the city Nuisance Abatement office was in the process of filing a claim against the previous owner. I contacted the city inspector and told them I was now the owner and would clean up the mess. Since ownership had changed hands, he said he would have to start over with the notices so I would have a little more time to comply. It was close but we got everything cleaned before the final inspection.

It had been more than 2 months since we got deed to the property and we still hadn’t started on the renovation. The legal and clean up cost were also a surprise. Initially we intend to have the property back on the market within 3-4 months. After getting to the point where we could actually begin to plan out the renovation. From what we could determine, we would need to replace the carpeting in the 3 bedrooms, gut and redo the bath, install 7 foundation piers, replace the roof, repair driveway, finish updating the HVAC that had been removed for some reason, rework the kitchen cabinets, and paint the entire house inside and out along with the exterior of the workshop. This was a lot more than we expected, but there were other surprises awaiting us also.


Can’t really tell how bad it is from this photo but the bath will need to be redone
CrackThis was the only sign on the exterior of foundation problems. It will take 7 piers to correct

shed porch

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