Update on burned-out houses in Hanover

HANOVER, VA (WWBT) - Relief is coming soon to resident in two Hanover subdivisions who say they're sick and tired of looking at two burned out houses.

The eye sores have been barely standing since 2008. That's when authorities say Robert Hayes killed himself after starting fires at a home in Cherrydale West subdivision and another in Dogwood Knoll.

Property owner Lora Hayes was given six months to fix up the torched houses or tear them down. The compliance deadline is Friday, November 4th, and the chief building inspector told me today, he hasn't heard a word from Hayes.

Based on what we see today, it's more likely it will be the  county, not the property owner, who demolishes the burned out house on Shea Tree Circle and the other on Vaughan Drive.

Neighbors tell us nothing has happened in terms of improvements since the grass got cut in August, when 12 On Your Side investigated neighbors' complaints.

Charles Paulus lives next door and says the ugly sight is a health and safety concern.

"The roof is caving in on the back," Paulus said. "Maybe one of these nights I'll hear a crash and the roofs will be in."

Property owner Lora Hayes, who lives less than a mile away, agrees the view is offensive but claims her hands are tied and blames multiple layers of litigation involving the insurance and mortgage companies, and attorneys.

"I can't believe the insurance company, the mortgage company, would have lawyers as worthless as they are who would not be able to an agreement and work things out, in 3 and a half plus years," said Paulus.

The chief building inspector says he's set to give the owner notice, if she allows the deadline to pass without complying, and either making the structures decent, or tearing them down herself.

If the county demolishes them, the estimated cost for both structures is $10,000. We're told a lien would be placed on the properties.

"There's no fixing. It's gotta be bull dozed.There's no saving that garage," said Paulus.

Building inspector Richard Bartell says he can demolish the properties administratively, without taking the owner back to court. He says unless there's some compelling reason not to, his office will start the process, after November 4th.

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