Squalor Home Condemned

Squalor Home Condemned
By:  CJ Cassidy

Cape Girardeau, MO -- Who do you think should be held accountable for letting a rental property fall apart?
The owners or the renters?
City inspectors say the responsibility lies with the owners.
But consider the extreme case we first told you about two weeks ago, when we took you inside a home on Pearl Street in Cape Girardeau filled with filth and human waste.
Cape city inspectors condemned the house. Now the owners have approximately six months to tear it down, and while bringing down a house isn't cheap, inspectors say it could have been a lot worse.
"Anytime you own propety lot of legal obligations," Robb McClary Director of Cape Girardeau's Inspection Services says.
Regina Moore and her husband found out the hard way, after stepping into the home they own for the first time in several years.
The Moores say they gave family members free rein over their house, free of charge, but were never allowed inside.
Photoographs Moore took show gaping holes in the floors, buckets of human feces and clothes and garbage scattered everywhere.
Police say Cedric Moore and Karen Clark lived there with their six children. The couple faces child endangerment charges, but here's what inspectors had to say, after condemning the property.
"The responsibility is one the property owner could always pass through a lease to the tenants but that doesn't take away his legal responsibility to maintain the property," McClary points out, adding some owners even face jail time.
But Moore says bulldozing the home could cost thousands of dollars, and that's not fair.
"Basically he was trying to help family members out, and it was at his cost, and it was a loss to him. That's sad that it's family, and it's come to this," Moore says.
The Moores hope to donate the house and land to Habitat for Humanity, because they say they can't afford to tear the building down.
The Director for Habitat for Humanity says they haven't made a decision yet on whether to accept the donation.
If you aren't sure of your rights and obligations as a property owner, you can pick up guidelines from your city office.
You should also call city inspectors or police, if you know of similar homes in your area.