Abandoned home becomes eyesore for neighbors in Winston-Salem

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- People living in Winston-Salem's Ashford neighborhood say they’re tired of living next to an abandoned home that's been left in disrepair for more than five years.

The house has a pool full of black water, an overgrown yard and neighbors say homeless people have broken in to live from time to time.

Neighbor Darrell Hawkins said he thinks the house has been a victim of foreclosure with the owners unable to pay for upkeep and the mortgage company turning a blind eye to the problems happening as the house continues to sit empty.

"I understand the foreclosure process, but what I don't understand is how a property can be in foreclosure for five years, and no one take any responsibility for helping to maintain it, that so eventually there would be a new owner here," Hawkins said. "It's a mess because it attracts rodents. I think it's a safety issue. Overall, I just think it's really bad for the city and mortgage company not to do more for the property."

The house at 2276 Ashford Drive in Winston-Salem is owned by Steven and Amanda Meche in Ville Platte, Louisiana, according to Forsyth County tax records.

County tax collector John Burgess says it appears the house may be in foreclosure proceedings, but the deed has not officially been changed to any bank ownership.

The Meche family could not be reached for comment.

While Bank of America did have a notice on the home, it does not list the property as one of its foreclosed homes on its property website.

Texas-based Nationstar Mortgage admits it is the caretaker of the property and says it has hired a property management company to maintain the property.

John Hoffman, Senior Vice President for Nationstar, tells FOX8 via email, "To maintain this property (and thousands more like it across the country), we employ a property preservation company to assess the conditions and provide the necessary upkeep. As a result of your inquiry today, we are now in the process of contacting the property preservation company to better understand what condition the property is in, what work has been done in the past, and what work needs to be done now to ensure the home is in compliance with all local codes and ordinances. We will then ensure the company performs that necessary work as soon as possible."

City Code Enforcement officer Bruce Baliff says the home has been cited several times for an overgrown yard and problems with the abandoned pool.

"A court order allowed the city to drain the pool a few years back," said Baliff.

Still Hawkins says, "It's a travesty, it's just a travesty. It makes me very, very frustrated because I work hard to keep the value of my home up. It's a problem."