Woman fears house next door will collapse

NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A North Fort Myers woman says the house next to her is a danger to her family and her property because it's falling apart.

Sandra Schmidp has been living next to the house on Lowell Avenue for years. She said since Hurricane Charley, the home has been without running water or electricity. She also said there have been two fires in the home. Panels were seen peeling off the structure, Friday. Walls and windows were boarded up with wood.

Sandra believes mold in the house is affecting her health. "Me and my son both have asthma problems and breathing problems now," she said.

Records show code enforcement has been issuing violations on the property for years, for everything from fire damage to waste in the yard. The house was even deemed an 'unsafe building' in 2010. "It's been on a list to be demolished by code enforcement," Sandra said. 

However, the house was never demolished because the homeowner still lives there. 

James Noland has lived in the home with no running water, electricity, or sewer service since 2004. He will not leave his home because he believes the structure is fine. "This is the strongest house there is anywhere," he said.

Mr. Noland told 4 In Your Corner code enforcement said his home is safe. So we called them. A spokesman said the following:

"The property was first cited on Sept. 17, 2010. Demolition procedures started but could not continue because the owner lives in the structure. The property has always been posted no trespassing and code enforcement was not able to get access, except to meet with the owner at the edge of the property.

Lee County Human Services has met with the owner to offer assistance finding a new place to live, but he has declined assistance.

A county building inspector was allowed to inspect the structural integrity of the building. Although the property has been cited for code violations, it does not meet unsafe demolition guidelines."

However, Sandra is afraid the house will collapse and damage her property if further action isn't taken, and worries Mr. Noland will be hurt too. "They're making excuses. It's time they get off their butts and get it done."

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