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Flushing, Queens Neighbors Grow More And More Frustrated With Zombie House

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Fed up in Flushing – residents say home in the Queens neighborhood has been neglected for decades, and they are having a really hard time getting anything done about it.

As CBS2's Andrea Grymes reported, the windows at the house are boarded up and part of the back of the roof has completely collapsed. Debris litters the yard.

"It's unacceptable," said neighbor Suzanne Pesature, "It's unacceptable."

Neighbors living on the otherwise well-manicured block say they are beyond fed up.

"I don't want to live like him; like a pig," said neighbor Joseph Vitulli.

CBS2 first reported on the neglected home at 35-20 167th St. in November 2016. The city Department of Buildings website has complaints dating back to 2001 – everything from people trespassing to unstable floors and hoarded conditions.

Despite inspections and violations, neighbors say the problems persist.

"Squatters in the home; teenagers hang out in the back, smoke, drink, light cigarettes," Vitulli said. "The yard is filled with debris that could easily light."

Neighbors said the owner lives a few blocks away, but CBS2 could not reach him for comment.

A Department of Buildings representative said earlier this month, they ordered him to put a fence around the backyard. It appears he complied.

But that is not enough for state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Queens), who is now lobbying several city agencies for help.

"What needs to happen here is the Department of buildings declare it an 'unsafe' building, then the city can demolish it and bill the owner," Avella said.

The DOB said it can only legally order the demolition of a building if it poses an imminent threat to public safety or neighboring properties. They said the 167th Street house does not meet those criteria.

The state senator said there is not even a bank to go after in this case because the home is not in foreclosure. He said there is not even a mortgage on it.

He and the neighbors vow to keep fighting.

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