Nuisance properties are a major concern for many in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. Rundown houses can be an eyesore and even a danger to our community.

Nuisance properties are a major concern for many in Springfield.

"I don't think that I could think of a single client that I've had come in and say, listen, this property is trash and I don't want to touch it," said Bryan Fisher.

He represents local landlord Barrett Fisk.

"That process is not in itself complicated. What is troubling about the process is, again, you have a property owner who suffered a giant loss, as the result of something completely out of their control, the winter storm, a giant tree falls on the house," he said.

Fisk was served with a dangerous building violation for a house he owns on East Cozy. He's in the process of rehabbing it before he's forced to tear it down.

Fisher says the problem isn't with the homeowners.

"I've never had a client burn their own house. I've never had a client trash their own house. I've never had a client dump trash on their own property, bust out the windows, bust out the doors," he said. "When people see these homes they want to blame the property owner without realizing that property owner has actually been the victim of a crime."

He believes that code enforcement should go after renters.

He said, "I would bet that you would not be able to find or if you did you can count on one hand, the number of tenants that have had any process instituted against them."

"We're obligated to investigate the validity of each and every complaint regardless of the motivation of which we receive the complaint," said Director of Building Development Services for Springfield, Harlan Hill."

Hill said his department works closely with homeowners to get their properties up to code.

"It's not our intention to demolish a perfectly sound structure if they're bringing it into compliance," he explained.

Fisher said he'd like to see the city work more closely with landlords, rather than just issue citations.

"If there was a process that was more collaborative, that didn't make property owners feel like, I've suffered this loss and now I'm being told I'm the problem," he said.

Homeowners can appeal for more time to bring their nuisance properties up to code.

The legal process can take several months to complete.