PUNTA GORDA, Fla. – A ‘rat house’ in Punta Gorda may be getting a face lift soon. City leaders said the rodents are evicted and they’re looking at selling the property on Belaire Court.
Neighbors said it’s been more than a decade since anyone lived in the home. You can still see rat traps and trash close to the front door of the property.
“It’s in this nice residential street. There’s no rats anymore I don’t think but it’s been called the rat house. It’s embarrassing that people say you live on the street where the rat house is?” neighbor Linda Moore said.
Punta Gorda Mayor Lynne Matthews said the city has a clear title to the property now that they obtained through the foreclosure process. She said it took the city a while to reach this step because at one point there was a magistrate for the site who just disappeared.
Now, the city has gotten rid of the rats and cleaned up the exterior of the home. They’re hoping to get their investment back by selling the property located in Punta Gorda Isles.
“Do we want to put it on the market and sell it? Do we want to tear it down? What do we want to do with it?” Those are some of the questions Matthews said faced city council today.
Neighbors like Moore want the place gone.
“Because the property is worth so much money, the land, these properties are going for like $400,000 land only,” she said. “All of us just really think just tear it down, sell the property, have a nice house built there and be done with it.”
A 3-1 vote in city council showed a majority of the members being fed up with putting money into the property. The vote went in favor of finding a selling price for the property as is.
“Obviously, we want as much as we can for it. With the real estate market being what it is right now, I don’t expect it’s going to be on the market very long,” Matthews said.
She pointed out the city did it’s part in fixing the problem, and whether to knock the place down or not should be up to the buyer.