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home : opinion : letters to the editor July 20, 2017

6/25/2014 2:59:00 PM
Local property owners need to be accountable

It is with interest that I've been reading of the Windom housing study.
A drive, or stroll, through some neighborhoods reveals pockets of dilapidated houses, some seemingly beyond repair.
What is more discouraging is that at one time these were likely neighborhoods where owners took pride in their homes and property. But, as longtime owners transition into another phase of their lives, the properties seem to have ended up in the hands of those who either cannot care for them, or choose not to.
The result is depreciation of not only that particular home, but every home around it. It is extremely unlikely that any prospective new resident would choose to live in such a property or neighborhood.
The condominium association where I lived in suburban Chicago had very extensive by-laws. Three of them come to mind: Items (such as furniture) which are designed for use indoors are prohibited for use outdoors. Garbage and other unsightly items are prohibited from accumulating in public view. Bedding shall not be used as window treatments. Consequences for violations were written warnings, fines, and evictions.
So what can be done? The stricter nuisance law is a great step.
Perhaps a "homeowner's code of conduct" should be drafted which would then be given to all home buyers. It could include the following:
• Basic good neighbor suggestions regarding parking, noise and other respectful behaviors.
• A listing of city ordinances regarding pets, snow removal and lawn mowing.
• Basic home maintenance guidelines such as lawn care, cleaning eaves spouts, exterior maintenance, and so on. so those with no property ownership experience know what's expected of them as homeowners.
And finally, property owners need to be held accountable - especially if they continue to let their properties slide toward further disrepair. We want people to find Windom, but not this way.
- MicheLe Larson

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