Dilapidated & Dangerous: Clearwater's new plan to tackle unkempt properties

CLEARWATER, Fla. — The city of Clearwater has a new plan to deal with dilapidated homes that have racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in code enforcement liens. The city could soon foreclose on blighted properties, particularly ones that are vacant and are not being taken care of. 

This has been an ongoing issue in Clearwater for decades. More than 140 properties have a combined $18.6 million in liens. A single home at 1334 Fairmount Street has accumulated $915,000 in code enforcement liens. Another at 309 S. Pegasus Avenue, which is a 4-plex that went belly up during the construction stage, has $622,000 in liens. 

Although code enforcement has issued warnings and fines, the homes continue to be a problem— some on the city’s radar for more than a decade. 

Now, Clearwater leaders want to zero in on the homes with the most fines and foreclose on them. St. Petersburg has seen success with a similar program. 

People who live next to the overgrown, dilapidated and rotting homes are fed up with the blight, rats, intruders and nuisance. They hope this latest initiative actually works to turn some of those properties around.

The new plan will come up for a vote before the Clearwater City Council in February. 

Terry Teunis, Clearwater’s Code Compliance manager hopes to target the new ordinance towards properties with low or no mortgages and which are not being lived in currently, though he says city council could vote to broaden those parameters. 

Some people ABC Action News spoke with wonder if the new policy is too harsh, but Clearwater officials argue these dilapidated homes are plaguing the Clearwater Community, and the foreclosure process may be the last resort to get the properties fixed up. 

Here are the top 10 properties with the most code enforcement liens in Clearwater:

1334 Fairmont Street, $915,000 in liens
309 S Pegasus Avenue, $662,000 in liens
1313 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave, $581,100 in liens
1574 Chateaux De Ville Ct, $557,500 in liens
3319 San Bernadino St., $496,500 in liens
1613 Tuscola Road, $471,450 in liens
59 Acacia Street, $461,400 in liens
505 N Garden Avenue, $456,250 in liens
407 S. Orion Avenue, $448,500 in liens
1405 N. Garden Avenue, $438,603.63 in liens

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