I don’t think you can go in to any neighborhood in Columbus, without seeing at least one vacant house. I don’t mean just a house that is for sale, and is easy to show because the owners have moved on, but a un-kept property. This morning’s Columbus Dispatch may have had a bit of an explanation since it points to an out-of-state owner of over 300 vacant rental properties, about which communities are complaining.
Living in a house near several vacant properties, including an uninhabitable apartment complex, I understand a community’s concern for the health and well-fare of its people when an out-of-state company owns what has already been for years, an apparently abandoned property. According to the Dispatch article, it was only a year ago that New York’s Stillwater Company sold the properties in question to NetFive Holdings of Jacksonville, Florida. Apparently there is some concern that out-of-state owners have not adequately maintained these properties.
These are difficult times. So difficult that even a large corporation cannot both hand over money for water bills delinquent through someone else, as well as rehabilitate and maintain this large number of properties, yet the small group of the Franklinton Development Association has taken on eight local houses, though they are still concerned about the one that is boarded up and owned by NetFive.
My previous experience in Real Estate confirms that the Franklinton fellows, have a legitimate concern: one boarded up house means that you will only attract the kinds of people to the area who are not likely to care for their property. Rather or not we stay in them for lengthy periods of time, we all want our community to reflect the best of ourselves as a whole. When you start off with an un-fixable problem, you are in a hole from which you cannot escape.
This only seems un-fixable. The City of Columbus can make a difference in NetFive’s ability to restore these vacant properties. If they are paying delinquent bills, they are spending money that could go to better use. The city’s budget is not going to be recovered by allowing current situations to deteriorate.
By expecting NetFive to pay delinquent bills created by Stillwater before the properties are rent-able, how is NetFive to generate income from which to pay it? I understand that the city functions on this kind of income, however, is it not better to put owed debt on hold, in order to allow current communities to flourish? Although NetFive certainly knew of these back debts, it is not their business to care about the communities involved. I am certain these vacant properties make a rather significant difference in someones “loss” column. We are not their problem.
But we are the City of Columbus’ problem. As the economy continues to fold under the weight of increasing fuel and food prices, with decreased incomes, the way things used to be, becomes less important than the way things are. I strongly suggest the City of Columbus re-evaluate their way of doing things in order to make current the availability of progress.