HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) - Many can relate to having a neighbor that doesn't cut his grass or trim his bushes -- but what do you do when you don't know who lives next door or when the mess gets so out of control, your property starts to suffer?
A viewer called 10 On Your Side with that very problem. The house beside Jimmy Barrett in Hampton has been vacant for years. The grass is growing out of control, the shrubs now shutter the house and pests have made the house their home.
"Opossums over there, rats, snakes, and the ants are terrible, the spiders are terrible," said Barrett.
Barrett said the property has been this way for three years but he can't blame his neighbors because they're dead.
City records show the property belongs to Ida Park, who passed away in 2007. Barrett told 10 On Your Side she left the house to her daughter who died a few years later. So, with no known heir, Barrett called the City of Hampton for help.
"This is a really tricky situation," Hampton City Spokesperson Robin McCormick said.
McCormick explained the city is limited in what it can do because the property does belong to someone.
"They may not know they own it, and you have to go through a lot of research with the courts, and everyone's rights have to be protected," she said.
The city is moving on the matter, just not fast enough for Barrett.
"I don't expect them to keep that like I keep mine, but I do expect them to cut the grass," he said.
The city told WAVY.com they can only do what's allowed by law. The city ordinance says they can't cut the grass until it is 10 inches high and they can't touch rodents or shrubs because that is not in the law.
What does involved the law is that the property is now $4,000 delinquent in taxes. The city posted a sign April 4 informing the owner -- whoever that may be -- they intend to sell the property.
The sign gave five days for a response -- it's been 82.
"It just makes the whole neighborhood look bad," said Barrett.
Spokesperson McCormick could not give WAVY.com a time frame on when the house will be put up for sale. She said that is up to the courts.
If you find yourself in a similar situation with a neighboring home in shambles, call your city and file a complaint right away. The sooner you get the problem on record, the quicker the city can move on it.
A Virginia Beach woman is behind bars accused of trying to poison her children and kill herself. Only 10 On Your Side talked to Lorita Aiken's mother about the charges against her.
Camden County Sheriff Tony Perry said that during the last two weeks, incidents of breaking and entering and home or vehicle larceny have increased in two areas of the county.
A Facebook post helped Elizabeth City Police identify and locate the suspect of a hit-and-run incident involving a 3-year-old this week.