Dougherty County is going after dilapidated structures

A dilapidated house being targeted by the county. / Jessica Fairley

Albany Code Enforcement officials are working to rid the area of abandoned or dilapidated homes. They say after sending out so many letters to the landowners and getting no reply, it's time to take the issue to a higher authority, forcing homeowners to either clean up or tear down.

Neighbors who live near these structures say they're not only and eye sore, but they're also bringing down their property value.

Fran Mikilitus has been dwelling on Leary Road for 28 years. She says the abandoned home across from hers once housed a loving couple who kept it up.

"The original couple both are dead and from there it went straight down no one ever stayed," said homeowner Fran Mikilitus.

The dilapidated structure now houses weeds, broken windows and trash heaps and Mikilitus says the situation is not only unsanitary but it's unsafe.

"We get a lot of snakes and you see them and you get a lot of rats that comes out of there. I called the code enforcement and they did respond," said Mikilitus.

Spencer Lee, Attorney for Dougherty County, says officials have taken all calls into consideration.

"They moved this to a different level. They've now asked for the County Commission to execute a resolution providing from the execution of the Nuisance Abatement Resolution," said Dougherty County Attorney Spencer Lee

Under the measure, a superior court judge will decide the fate of the structures. Officials say once a decision is made, home owners will have no choice but to act accordingly. However, there'll still be the option for owners to take control.

"There's always an opportunity for the owner of the property to step in and say here's what I'd like to do with my property I think that I can salvage this and I'd like to renovate it," said Attorney Spencer Lee.

Until then, he says the dilapidated properties will continue to bring down the value of surrounding homes and the court can't let it go unabated.

Lee says the court process should take about four months to complete.