Cleanup at Clearwater rat-infested house after neighbors decide ‘Better Call Behnken’

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – A rat-infested mansion in Clearwater is getting some much-needed cleanup after neighbors decided they ‘Better Call Behnken.’

The home at 3009 Oakmont Drive in the exclusive Reserve neighborhood, was abandoned four years ago. Citi Bank started the foreclosure process but did not follow through. Residents in the neighborhood called 8 On Your Side’s ‘Better Call Behnken’ after they could not get anywhere with the bank or the city of Clearwater to get major work done.

RELATED: House in foreclosure limbo becomes eyesore for Clearwater neighborhood

“We were in so desperation. This has been going on for four years,” HOA President Nermine Rubin said. “For two years we couldn’t even get Citi Bank to respond to us, and within a week of you, we started seeing activity.”

Clearwater Code Enforcement issued several violation notices after our Better Call Behnken story, and Citi Bank responded by hiring a crew to start yard work. They have worked for a week now. They cleared overgrown bamboo and weeds, and secured the green swimming pool.

It’s good news for Don Boesch, who lives right next door and tells of rats actually sitting on the wall outside his window. He tells 8 On Your Side the rats stared at him.

“I see them, as I’m watching TV, going up and down the bamboo,” Boesch said.

A spokesman for the mortgage company sent this statement to 8 On Your Side two weeks ago:

We understand that preservation of properties in foreclosure is a matter of serious concern to communities.  Because this property is in a gated area with limited access, it has been difficult for us to perform maintenance.   A recent inspection and grass cuttings were competed on 6/1/16 and 6/20/16 without specific notification of additional maintenance needed. We will continue to address any outstanding maintenance issues with the property within our legal parameters.”

The bank said Monday it is continuing its outside work and crews are checking on the infestation issue. The bank said crews will respond appropriately.

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