Abandoned Houses: Is There Anything We Can Do?

Abandoned Houses: Is There Anything We Can Do?

Kristen Lubbe
Feb 8, 2010

Living in Philadelphia we encounter this "problem" quite often. Abandoned houses are becoming more and more frequent and we're wondering if there's anything we can do in our own neighborhoods. There are things you can keep an eye out for — but should we really bother?

Besides purchasing and occupying an abandoned house, we're curious about what to do? We read an article from Charles & Hudson about safely living next to a vacant property and all we could think when reading it was "Really? Am I supposed to be doing this?"

We live in a row home in Philadelphia and the houses on either side of us are vacant and have been since we moved in (there are several vacant properties on our street). The Charles & Hudson article mentioned keeping an eye out for suspicious activities and to not be afraid to call the police, but how do we determine what is the appropriate time to call (aside from the obvious house on fire or actually seeing people go in and out)? We hear noises coming from the abandoned houses quite often &mdash are we supposed to be calling the police each time? We're pretty sure we'd be labeled as the girl-who-cried-wolf.

We're wondering if it is our responsibility as neighbors to keep a watchful eye on the unoccupied houses around us. Is there a list of activities that we should be on the look out for and where do we draw the line? We understand the surrounding houses do effect the property value of ours, but, when does the responsibility go too far?

What do you suggest we do when living next to an abandoned home?

Images: Kevin Bauman

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