Pasco County gives Land O' Lakes sinkhole victims ultimatum to clean up and secure their properties

Posted at 3:27 AM, Jul 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-27 06:32:15-04

Mattresses, dolls and an air conditioning unit are still floating around in a sinkhole nearly two weeks after it opened up swallowing two homes in Land O' Lakes.

The cleanup process is now starting. The Pasco County Health Department gave homeowners the ultimatum.

RELATED | Sinkhole swallows two homes in Land O' Lakes neighborhood; cleanup could take months

Because conditions on the property pose serious health and safety threats, authorities instructed homeowners to find contractors to remove debris and hazardous material from their properties. They will also be required to secure their property until insurance companies can determine what to do.

Pasco County is now stepping in to clear out the rubbish. Homeowners who did not hire a contractor to clean up will now have to pay the county for the costs or risk losing their properties.

County officials sent this note to the homeowners, renters, insurances companies, engineering companies and repair companies:

On July 14, 2017 at 7:21 A.M., two homes located at 21825 and 21835 Ocean Pines Drive, Land O’Lakes, FL 34639 suffered catastrophic loss which has resulted in both structures being condemned. A third home, located at 21814 Ocean Pines Drive suffered loss of extreme real property.
Pasco County and the Pasco County Health Department have determined that conditions on the property present a serious threat to the public health, safety, and welfare.  The following immediate actions are necessary to correct these conditions:
  1. Remove debris from the sinkhole;
  2. Remove hazardous material from the sinkhole; and
  3. Secure the property until you and/or your insurance company determine the final resolution for your property (i.e. repair, fill, rebuild, etc.).
If you do not perform these actions by Wednesday, July 26, 2017 at 5 p.m., Pasco County will enter onto the property to correct these conditions and the cost of correction will be imposed on the parcel as a special assessment.

Dennis Bedgood, a neighbor who lives just down the street from the affected homes, says he knows insurance companies may be giving the homeowners a hard time.

"You know when you are dealing with insurance companies, they play their little tit for tat. It’s hard to say," said Bedgood.