MESQUITE, Texas – In a well-kept neighborhood on the southeast side of the city, the house next door to Luis Zamora stands out for the wrong reasons.
"I'm embarrassed to have people over to my house," said Zamora.
The single story 1,800 square foot house, in the 2500 block of Widgeon Way, has sat vacant for about seven years. Multiple tarps wrap the roof. The back door is boarded up. Vandals have broken windows and smashed sheetrock inside.
"I've offered to buy this property. I gave them my assurance that if I could buy it, I would have it ready to go in three months. No replies,” added Zamora.
The man who lived here since 1990 died in October 2009. His widow stopped making mortgage payments in December 2009, according to Dallas County Probate Court records.
The mortgage company, an Irving-based firm called Nationstar, which has just changed its name to Mr. Cooper Home Loans, argue in court that the couple owed more than $228,428.13 on the house. Dallas County Central Appraisal District estimated its 2017 value at $161,340.
For more than five years, the case has remained open in Dallas County Probate Court and the house at the center of it has slowly deteriorated in Mesquite, bringing down the reputation of the subdivision, as well.
Last month, the court appointed administrator for the estate, John J. Feldt, wrote the City of Mesquite:
"I have been unable to move Nationstar to act. I simply cannot understand the inaction on the part of Nationstar to remedy the continuing code violations..."
Mesquite told WFAA that it gave Mr. Cooper Home Loans 30-days to make repairs this summer but never heard back.
"Beginning early next week, we are going to have repairs made to the roof and the decking and other areas at the house that are at the home right now,” said Wayne Larson, City of Mesquite spokesman.
The city hired S. L. Nabors Commercial-Residential Roofing to remove the tarps and repair the roof for $4,450.
Mesquite will put a lien on the property, Larson explained, to ensure taxpayers get their money back.
But in a statement to WFAA, Mr. Cooper Home Loans suggested the property is acceptable as is: "We have been maintaining this property and working with the City of Mesquite to ensure the property is properly up to code. We value our relationships with local city officials and have not refused to respond to the city. We are in contact with the City of Mesquite to resolve this."
"Sell it. Fix it up. Do something to it. It's making the neighborhood look horrible," said Tonya Richardson, home owner.
"I don't know what to do. I'm fed up. This block is fed up," added Zamora.
Neighboring homeowners are fed up with excuses and inaction.