Loopholes making it hard for Tampa to crack down on condemned properties

TAMPA - Authorities in Tampa are trying to crack down on blighted properties, but the city's legal team says there are just too many loopholes for code violators.

An orange notice to vacate was placed on the window of one Tampa home in Green Park Residences, a mobile home community, since early August. The property was deemed unfit for humans.

But when we knocked on the door, someone opened it, admitting they had no plans to leave.

Neighborhood advocate Pete Johnson's followed this case for half a year.

He's demanded answers about many others for years.

And sat in city hall, waiting for something change .

"I recognize the frustration that everybody has, because as I've learned this process, I didn't realize how many holes there were," he said.

Now the legal department says it plans to close those holes.

Like the ones that handcuff code enforcement while this mobile home park falls apart.

Condemned and slated for demolition after our first of 4 stories last year - still stuck in legal limbo.

"We try to do everything we can to motivate that property owner to do it."

It turns out - that motivation - isn't always enough.

The city's now looking into tougher rules and consequences, like creating a database of high-risk properties - and labeling chronic violators.

The city is maintaining their property for them, being a babysitter to about 14,000 rental properties.

But neighborhood watchdogs like Johnson say something's gotta change.

"It's a total lack of communication between both legal and code enforcement."

 

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