Sanford nuisance property owes over $1.15 million in tax liens after 13 years of issues

Nuisance homes all over the place are overgrown, full of rodents, falling apart and putting a dark cloud over neighborhoods and communities. Seminole County is cracking down on these problem properties.

One home on Tangerine Avenue in Sanford has been racking up fines since 2011.

FOX 35 was able to speak with the homeowner Evelyn Britton, who's in her mid-80s. She said she’s been dealing with problems with her health and her family. She said she’s meant to take care of the property and just hasn’t really gotten around to it.

After almost 13 years of issues, the county says her time is up.

When properties are condemned or labeled a public nuisance, the question on many people’s minds is: How did things get to be this bad?

At a County Commission meeting Tuesday, Liz Parkhurst with Seminole County’s Building Department explained the saga of issues at Britton’s home. She said the County placed a lien on the property in 2011 for failing to correct code violations.

"That was for the trash and debris remains," said Parkhurst. "A rubble of a structure, uncultivated vegetation and the junk vehicles."

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The lien goes up $250 plus interest every single day. It’s now over $1.15 million.

"If there was ever a complaint made, I corrected the complaint," said Mark Britton, the property owner’s son. "I never, I didn't just knock my head at this. If there was a problem, I fixed it."

The county said that isn’t the case.

Seminole County’s Building Department said that "no corrective action has been taken, and there continues to be a steady decline in the condition of the property."

The property owners were given one month to fix things up, or tear the place down themselves, otherwise the county will do it and then send the property owners the bill.

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Real estate attorney Bridget Friedman said she sees this all the time.

"Unless they have the money, they, they're kind of in a, in a tough position," said Friedman.


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An abandoned home in Sanford is facing demolition if the owners don't correct a lengthy list of code enforcement issues in the next couple of weeks.

FOX 35 reported on a similar situation Monday. Property owners in both cases said these fixes and demolitions are expensive. The liens are too. Friedman says to try to negotiate those down.

"They have to show goodwill and that they're moving forward and they're actually taking action to remedy the problem," Friedman said. 

There is one thing the county and the owners of the property on Tangerine Avenue agree on: the house has to come down.

But the fight isn’t over – several cars are actually on a neighboring property owned by the same family.

If the county wants those removed, it’ll have to go through this whole process again.