Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Swamps of Home

Another downside to the foreclosure plague here in South Florida:

In Wellington, William Bucknam waged a months-long battle to get the pool at his neighbor’s foreclosed house cleaned.

“It had a terrible color and it smelled because something was growing in it,” said Bucknam, who lives next door to the house on Nevis Place.

That pool, like others at foreclosed homes, turned a dark shade of green when it was abandoned because no one was there to run the pool pump or apply the chemicals that help keep its water clear and clean.

On Wednesday, the pool was drained and cleaned after Bucknam and the Palm Beach County Health Department made numerous calls to the company that owns the house.

But other pools linger in unsanitary conditions.

It’s impossible to know how many filthy pools there are in all of Broward and Palm Beach counties or how many houses with pools have been abandoned. But South Florida is known for its pool homes. Nearly one of every three Broward homes has a pool. The percentage rises to nearly half in Palm Beach County.

It’s the first thing I told my realtor when we went looking for a house: no pool. They’re expensive to keep up, and they’re the last thing people take care of when the going gets tough…and they get going… like on the lam from their mortgage.