Henrico, VA—Two vacant homes in the process of foreclosure were an eyesore in an otherwise tidy and peaceful Henrico community. Frustrated neighbors said the out-of-state property preservation company which is supposed to maintain the homes was doing a poor job, and turned to 8News for help.
"The shrubbery is overgrown in the front, there's no mailbox, there's no light in the front…our values have already gone down, this does not help."
Julia Turner is the President of the Homeowner's Association for Darbytown Meadows. She and many other members of the community noticed two homes on Dawnfield Lane falling into disrepair over the course of several months.
Both homes are in the process of foreclosure, and have been vacant for about one year. The fences around both homes had been ripped apart, and each home had broken windows. The front door of one of the houses was broken, and the front porch was destroyed. Beer bottles and broken glass littered the backyards. The properties were a far cry from the well-kept yards and homes in the Darbytown Meadows subdivision.
An Ohio company called Safeguard Properties is responsible for the security and upkeep of the homes and yards. Neighbors said they reached out to Safeguard about the declining state of the homes, but had not seen any improvements.
"We have been in touch with them since July of last year and nothing seems to get done,"
In February, Henrico Police discovered that a window in one of the homes had been shattered, and someone had broken in. A police report indicates that officers didn't find anyone inside at the time.
But neighbors were concerned that the homes would attract loiterers like magnets, as well as the potential for crime.
"It is a haven for illegal activities," Turner noted.
8News contact Safeguard Properties to find out more about this situation. A sign is posted on the door of one of the homes, asking neighbors to call Safeguard for concerns; when we called the number, we heard a recorded message: "This number for safeguard is no longer in service."
After further investigation, we learned that more than 30 complaints by homeowners had been filed against Safeguard. Also, the Better Business Bureau has given the company a "C" grade.
When we finally managed to get in touch with Safeguard, we addressed the complaints about the Dawnfield Lane homes. Within 24 hours of our call, Safeguard crews came out to the homes to make repairs. They cut overgrown grass in the yards, cleaned up debris and secured the homes.
Neighborhood residents say Safeguard has kept up the repairs.
"We've noticed that Safeguard has sent out a contractor and they have repaired the back door, the have repaired the glass, they put shades down," says Dometria Dixon, treasurer of the Darbytown Homeowner's Association.
Neighbors are grateful that progress has been made with bringing the homes back up to standard.
"8news was on the spot I think as soon as they found out they decided they better move as quick as they can. I am really glad you were here to push things along," noted Dixon.
Stay with 8News for updates.
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