Abandoned home a nuisance, but neighbors' hands are tied

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Broken glass, rotting drywall, and mountains of trash make this Cimerron Plantation eyesore a major health hazard. Even though it's been abandoned for years, homeowners can't do anything about it.

"The owners left about three years ago," said Cimerron Plantation homeowner Sandi Curry. Even though the owners haven't been home, 82 Plantation Drive has been shelter for troublemakers and vandals, destroying much of the house.

"You can see the kitchen cabinets and doors have been ripped off," Curry said. "For some reason they took the dishwasher."

Only one room in the home is relatively unscathed, but the walls are covered with graffiti, and rolling papers and baggies indicate whoever used this room was up to no good.

"In these back windows, I've seen lights," said homeowner Chris Gardiner. "Not from candles, but lighting something up, maybe drugs."

Cimerron Plantation homeowners have tried to get answers about who can clean up the home. At first it appeared the home was in foreclosure, and owned by Bank of America, but calls to the bank were fruitless.

"They told us that Bank of America didn't have a mortgage on this house," Curry said. Further investigation by WMBF News revealed court documents that indicate at one point the home was put in foreclosure by Bank of America, but allowed the mortgage to stay in the original owner's name.

Homeowners have tried to put abatement on the property, but since they cannot track down the homeowner, Horry County Government cannot proceed. The county advised homeowners to take legal action, but Curry says Cimerron Plantation has a voluntary Homeowners Association, and cannot afford an attorney.

For now, neighbors have to put up with the eyesore, simply because they can't find the homeowner.

"I've seen people coming in and out of here all the time," Gardiner said. "I've called police multiple times, but they say there's nothing they can do because they don't know who owns the house.

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