Real Estate & Property Law

Home-Demolition Derby in New Orleans

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Chanel Debose has spent $90,000 to fix up her New Orleans home since Hurricane Katrina’s devastation. But it is now reportedly on the list of homes to be demolished as the city rushes to meet a deadline for qualifying for federal aid to do so.

At least she knows about the planned razing: many other homeowners apparently don’t. And, many are contending, due process is minimal or nonexistent in the ongoing home-demolition derby. For instance, those who do know their homes are scheduled to be demolished and want to complain are told to do so in writing. But there are no written rules about how to object, and no way to confirm that a home is, in fact, no longer slated for destruction, reports the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.). At least four homes have been demolished by mistake, according to those quoted in the article. Demolishing some homes also implicates historic preservation issues.

“There’s no due process here,” Debose says. “It’s their process.”

At least one member of the New Orleans City Council agrees that there are significant problems that need to be addressed. “Of course, you’re going to have mistakes, but now it’s clear that we’ve got to slow things down,” says Stacy Head. She says she plans to complain about the situation at a council meeting today.

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