'Nuisance' home finally getting cleaned up after 10 years

Posted at 6:34 PM, Jun 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-02 18:34:58-04

Imagine living next to filth, bugs and rats for 10 years and then finding out the city had a court order to clean up the mess, but never followed through with it!

That's exactly what happening for neighbors in St Pete Beach around the home at 627 78th Avenue.

Susan and John Perodeau fell in love with their home, less than a block from the waterfront, because of its large picture window. Yet, the view, is now the thing they hate the most. 

Susan Perodeau described the scene outside her house, “All the junk in the yard. The grass growing. Transients coming and going. There are people sleeping in the yard, sleeping in their cars.”

The home on 78th Avenue has been slapped with several code violations for an entire decade.

The couple got fed up with the sight and started snapping pictures to email to St. Pete Beach leaders.  

Perodeau added, “It has been a hard effort, we called the sheriff a number of times and code enforcement and so have our neighbors.”

To their surprise, the neighbors found out that back in 2012, a judge issued a court order for the same house and owner to clean up the property. 

City Attorney Andrew Dickman tells us the order somehow fell through the cracks and former city leaders didn’t enforce it. 

“They did not follow up on it. They just dropped it,” Susan Perodeau added.

The city is now finally stepping in to file a foreclosure lawsuit on the home, which has accrued twice as much in fines as it’s worth.

“It's definitely a long time coming. We are really looking forward to it being over,” explained John Perodeau.

As for the "nuisance" home’s owner, James Birmingham, he had only four words.

“I call it backstabbing,” he said.

The Perodeaus desperately hope this never happens to another neighborhood. So we asked: What should you do in a similar situation?

Local attorneys tell us: Take pictures, record videos, if you call the sheriff’s office, get a copy of the report. The more evidence, the better.

Also, don’t be afraid to report the mess as many times as you need to. The Perodeau's learned how crucial that was. “The old squeaky wheel gets the grease. You have to become the squeaky wheel to start to roll,” she added.

The Perodeaus just hope in your case, it doesn’t take 10 years.