This is a picture of a building in Caswell County, NC. This house is right on NC-86, between Yanceyville and the Virginia border. And I wonder how houses can be abandoned and just fall apart like this. Things like this have been bouncing around in my head ever since high school. I think that there is going to be an explosion of abandoned subdivisions, strip malls, and suburbs, and it might be happening now with all of the foreclosures due to the economic crisis. A person who sent in a letter to NPR’s Planet Money podcast/blog said that he would never pay down the principal on his mortage because if diaster struck, he could just walk away and all that would happen would be his bad credit for 7 years. He’s basically paying rent payments for his house and would be able to walk away without having sunk hundreds of thousands of extra dollars into his house when he feels that he doesn’t need to.
I don’t know whether or not I agree with that notion, but it is interesting to think about. But going back to an earlier point, how can a house fall apart like this? I must assume that this building couldn’t have had a mortgage on it, because I doubt that a bank would have let it deteriorate like this. Perhaps something catastrophic happened to this property, causing the owner to just give up and the bank not try to do anything to it, but for some reason that doesn’t seem likely.
Or if the owner didn’t have a mortgage on the house, the owner may have just walked away and then there is no one who’s responsible for this place after the owner. In some places a homeowner’s association might have some say over this sort of thing, but are there any laws about abandoned buildings? Can a local government reposses and auction a house after a determination that its abanonded? And how would they determine if its abandoned?
All of this makes my head hurt.