Neighbor says house has bat infestation, needs to be torn down

Heather R. Breaux
October 01, 2008 at 9:11 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Neighbor says house has bat infestation, needs to be torn down
The 2,700-square-foot Willowridge eyesore that’s towered over Tupelo Court residents for years could soon face its demolition day.

The property, located in the well-known Luling subdivision, is up for sheriff’s sale, officially going to auction on Oct. 8 at 10 a.m.

Area neighbors agree that they’d all like nothing more than to see the castle-like house that’s overgrown with toxic mold and infested with bats demolished.

Neighbor Amy Barrios claims that the house has created problems for the neighborhood ever since the owners abandoned it shortly  after Hurricane Katrina tore through St. Charles Parish.

“From what I understand, the owners blame Katrina for the toxic mold problem,” she said. “It wasn’t long after the storm hit that they moved into a rental house.

“The house has sat in our neighborhood for three years posing health hazards with no one living in it.”

At one point, the bat infestation was so widespread that Barrios had to call the health department for help.

“After I called, someone did come out to address the problem,” Barrios said. “And while the situation has improved, there are still bats nesting in the house.”

The local majority concedes that Rodney Curole,  the listed property owner, moved out his and his families remaining belongings sometime last year, telling neighbors that they were moving to the North Shore.

Court documents show that the mortgage on the house has been unpaid and in litigation for a quite a while - an issue stemming from a dispute between Curole and the insurance company regarding the actual cause of the mold.

So now, the mortgage holder has turned to the courts for help by putting the unusual house up for public auction.
But the question remains as to whether or not someone  will take on the risk of buying such a dilapidated piece of property.

Sheriff’s sale rules state that all listed properties are blind purchases.  Interested parties can’t  inspect the property before making a bid, leaving the bidder in a “what-you see is what you get” situation.

“I’ve been in the house before and it’s definitely one of a kind,” Barrios said. “From what I saw, there are about eight closet-sized bedrooms with no windows and the main structure of the house was never completed.”

Barrios and her husband Troy, who own rental property in the parish, are no strangers to the real estate business. They say that the listed auction price is too high for a house with so many ailments.

“The property should be auctioned based on the value of the land minus what it would cost to tear down the house,” she said. “It’s not structurally sound and probably isn’t worth the hassle it’s going to take to save it.”

And while fellow neighbors would also like to see the house gone, they fear that demolition will pose even more problems for their surrounding homes.

“A lot of people are concerned that tearing down the house could stir up a lot of unhealthy debris and send it into the air and onto our houses,” Barrios said. “We all want to see it gone, but we also want to protect our families from any health hazards that could arise.”

View other articles written Heather R. Breaux

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