Homeowner Goes Away For 8 Months, Returns To Find Town Has Demolished His House

The vacant lot that used to have a house on it. (CBS New York)

The vacant lot that used to have a house on it. (CBS New York)

When you leave home for an extended period, you probably lock the doors up tight, maybe turn on an alarm, and expect that the house will still be standing upon your return. Which is why one Long Island homeowner was shocked, to say the least, when he returned after eight months away to find his home had disappeared entirely.

The 69-year-old man was in Florida for several months to recover from knee surgery, and discovered that while he’d been gone, the town had demolished his 1,570-foot house valued at around $423,072, reports CBS New York.

He’s suing, after spending two months in a motel, claiming all his furniture, jewelry and other possessions had vanished along with the house.

“How can somebody do this?” he said to the New York Daily News. “If you are going to take down someone’s house, have the decency to get in touch with them, call them.”

Town officials said they considered the seemingly abandoned home dangerous, and that tearing it down was their way of keeping “zombie” homes from hanging around. Besides, officials said, they made every attempt to contact the homeowner about its impending doom, following “all proper procedures” and notifying him with repeated registered letters dating back to last October. The house was torn down in May.

But he wasn’t getting his mail from New York in Florida, the man says, and besides, there are other methods of communication.

“Somebody could have called me, somebody could have notified me and said ‘hey listen here is whats going on,’” he told CBS New York. “But the town, they took everything, it’s just gone.”

His lawyer says there was no indication the home was zombiefied, either, despite his prolonged absence.

“They went too far – this house should not have been demolished, and they went too fast,” his attorney said. “They had all the signs to know that someone was living here.”

LI Home Thought To Be Abandoned Demolished, Owner Sues After Losing Everything [CBS New York]
Long Island man returns from Florida to find the town destroyed his home [New York Daily News]

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