Empty Houses and Their Effect on Neighboring Homes

The abandoned rowhouse next door to Wendy and Brian Malaney has been a nightmare of a neighbor. The rowhouse’s roofing material blew off, and water seeped through the Malaneys’ adjoining walls. Later the pipes burst in the neighboring property, flooding their basement. The air they and their two young daughters breathe is now heavy with the noxious stink of mold.

The Malaneys say they have no way to cover the thousands of dollars needed to repair their own home. The vacant property’s owner has not stepped forward to fix the damage. Neither has the bank, which decided against foreclosing on—and taking possession of—the property. The Malaneys say insurance hasn’t covered the cost of remediation—and now they are stuck.

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