PASCO COUNTY, Fla — The saying goes “Good fences, make good neighbors.” But, one man says a fence isn’t enough to help with his neighbor’s out of control yard.

It’s hard to tell by the overgrown grass, bushes and moss, but there is a house hidden behind a bunch of overgrown debris.

“We put this fence up, so we don’t have to see this,” Pasco County homeowner Michael Smith said.

And, the back of the home looks even worse. Michael Smith, who lives a few feet from the property, has been dealing with the eyesore behind him for years. He said the only things coming and going from his neighbor’s home are pests.

“Problem is the look of it. It’s bringing property value down. We have a pest problem. My cat brings mice. We’ve seen mice and rats,” says Smith.

He reported the property to Pasco County code enforcement at least 7 times since 2016. He says code enforcement has come over to mow the lawn, but then it grows back up again in a couple of weeks; and he has to call code enforcement, never resolving the problem.

“This tree here hasn’t been maintained at all,” Smith said.

He says his neighbor’s lack of maintenance on the property is hurting his property value. He’s fed up with temporary solutions. He wants a permanent solution.

“If it’s abandoned, have it torn down or find out who the owner is and have it cleaned up,” Smith said.

10Investigates reached out to Pasco County, which told us:

The property does have an open complaint for overgrown grass. And, since 2010, there have been 10 liens placed on the property. But here’s the catch: no citations have been issued. Pasco officials say they have to serve citations in person, but the property owner lives out of state, so no citations have been handed out.

10Investigates reached out to the owner of the property, but so far, no response.

“Code enforcement keeps telling me problems been taken care of,” Smith said.

Michael said not so much, and he says he’ll continue to fight to keep his neighborhood beautiful until the problem is permanently resolved.

Pasco County has a relatively new, specialized code enforcement program that targets repeat offenders. But again, it’s tricky for the county to take action on this property because the owners are out of state.

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