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Vacant house cleaned and secured by Klein

A property in disrepair on City Island, an eyesore in mortgage arrears, has been cleaned-up and secured.

For about a year, 102 Caroll Street has been vacant, according to next-door neighbor Sal Caruso, and the house has fallen into a state of disrepair, with its back door and windows partially open, lawn overgrown with weeds, and a six-foot wide portion of a wooden fence collapsing into the yard.

At one point, teenagers broken into the house, and Caruso called the police, but they were gone by the time the cops arrived.

“It was dragging down the whole block that I live on because the house was totally unkempt,” Caruso said. “Things got so bad, that at one point, one of my neighbors came and cut down the tall weeds in front of the house.”

He could see that no one had lived in the house and believed that the home was in foreclosure. Caruso contacted Senator Jeff Klein after he heard about his legislation that required banks to upkeep the properties it owns.

A member of Senator Klein’s staff discovered, by calling Con Edison and city agencies, that there was no heat, water, or electrical service in the house, and that it had been vacant for about a year.

The city Department of Buildings did an inspection of the property and issued a violation for the fence falling onto Caruso’s property.

Caruso, who is now a retired carpenter and former deli owner, said that he was concerned about his grandchildren playing in the yard because of the shaky wooden fence next-door. He and his family moved to City Island from Flushing, Queens in 2000.

At the insistence of Klein, American Home Mortgage Servicing sent out a repair crew to fix the fence, windows, and clean-up the yard.

“Abandoned properties can be a cause of concern for any neighborhood,” Klein said. “For more than two years I fought for laws, now in effect, that protect neighborhoods from exactly this issue.”

The property maintenance legislation sponsored in the Senate by Klein and signed into law by Governor Paterson in 2009 requires lending institutions to maintain foreclosed properties and make sure they are safe and habitable when they are once again made ready for new tenants or owners.

“A new section of fence has been installed,” Caruso said. “The ripped window screens and shades have all been repaired, trash has been removed from in front of the house, and I now feel it is safe again to have my grandchildren in the backyard.”

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