Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

September 16, 2013

County attorney to send letter to bank urging cleanup of property

By Gary Nelson
Senior staff writer

CROSSVILLE — Last month Cumberland County attorney Randal Boston was authorized by the Health and Safety Standards Board to take legal action against a financial institution that owns property that has been dilapidated and abandoned for more than a year.

This month, Boston reported to the board that Bank of America is now listed as the owner of the property at 145 Guiness Dr. The property has been in foreclosure status for several months and has been listed to sell at the Cumberland County Courthouse several times.

"Now that it has legally been put back in the bank's name we can send them notice and tell them that we will sue if they don't get the property cleaned up in 30 days," Boston said.

Nancy Hyder, 2nd District commissioner, and HSSB chairman, asked, "When will we be able to start collecting $50 a day against them?"

"After we file suit and Judge (Larry) Warner orders it. Believe me, I don't think they're going to let it go that far. They won't want to let go that far," Boston said.

In other areas, Boston reported he got a good, alternate address for a property owner of 93 Fox Den Lane and would be sending a notice of violation to the property owner.

"We haven't gotten the last letter informing them of the complaint back and that's been a couple of weeks, so it appears that should be a good address," Boston said.

Brian Jones, HSSB member, made a motion to authorize Boston to send the letter of violation to the property owner of 93 Fox Den Lane and it was supported by Nick Hedgecoth and unanimously approved.

Hyder reported she drove past property at 467 Carter Town Rd. and it appeared to have been cleaned up, but it was at dusk, so she wasn't sure.

"It looked like it had been cleaned up, but I'm going to go back by there during the day so I can see for sure," Hyder said.

The board agreed to table it unanimously until next month and Hyder will report back to the board.

The HSSB board took no action on a new complaint that was filed because it was a single-wide trailer.

The property is at 720 Sequoia Dr. in the Sequoia Trailer Park in Lake Tansi.

"We can't do anything by law because it's a trailer and it has to be fixed on a foundation and can't have a title," Hyder said. "That's what our attorney has advised us."

Boston said that was his opinion.

"They have a board out there and collect dues, they should be able to take care of that," Hedgecoth said.

In order to come under action from the county by the HSSB, the property must be a dilapidated, abandoned home that is fixed to a foundation, or in the case of manufactured homes, has had the title surrendered to the state and an affidavit of affixation has been filed with the Register of Deeds office.

According to the resolution approved by the Cumberland County Commission, three adjoining property owners must file and sign the complaint form and be located within 150 years of the dilapidated, abandoned home. Once the complaint is determined to be valid by the HSSB, the board will send a letter of complaint to the property owner.

If no action is taken, the board may send a letter of violation. If no action is taken, then the county may choose to take legal action up to filing a lien on the property or suing the property owner and collecting fees from the property owner if no action is taken.