State Owns Abandoned Home That Neighbors Say Is Attracting Illegal Activity

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By Jessica Gertler

People in a South Montgomery neighborhood want something done about a vacant house they say is attracting prostitutes and drug dealers. 

Neighbors say they have been waiting too long for something to happen to an abandoned home on Early Street, which they say is attracting illegal activity. They want the house torn down.

"You talking about stopping this? They haven't done anything about it," says Angie Smith. "Prostitution or whatever you want to call it. You have women selling their bodies sitting on the porch."

Smith lives next to 1009 Early Street.

"We are embarrassed by this spot," says Smith. "It is making other houses look terrible."

Smith, who has lived on the street for most of her life, says while the home looks empty, at night it's buzzing with illegal activity.

"All the time of the night. Three or four in the morning," she says.

Judy Rush also lives near the house.

"I want the home torn down. It should be destroyed," says Rush.

After some digging, Alabama News Network found out the owner is none other than the state of Alabama. We've learned the state took the home when the owner failed to pay last year's taxes.

While the property tax records list the state as the owner, a spokesperson with the Alabama Department of Revenue says they have custody of the home until the owner pays back taxes or someone purchases the property.

The spokesperson says "if the home is unsafe or hazardous, the city may have the authority to tear the structure down, but as far as illegal activity concerns, it does not have any authority in the area and concerns should be reported to the Montgomery Police Department."

So we contacted police, but they say they've only received one complaint in the last six months about a strange smell coming from the house.

The house is in City Councilman David Burkette's district.

"There were three or four abandoned houses on Early Street. I think I got two down. They always have the same problems: prostitution and drugs," he says.

"If he knows it, he needs to go ahead and get rid of it and stop it," Smith says.

Neighbors say in addition to the illegal activity, there is a foul stench coming out of the home. Keep in mind, right now there's no plumbing or electricity in the home. 

Montgomery County Revenue Department says around 200 homes were turned over to the state, because owners could not pay their taxes last year. 

Once the property is turned over to the state, the owner has three years to pay the back taxes and reclaim the property.

To view the property records: http://revco.mc-ala.org/CAPortal_MainPage.aspx

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