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      La Joya city officials cracking down on abandoned homes

      La Joya city officials not only consider abandoned homes an eyesore"but also a breeding grounds for illegal activity.

      "Unfortunately these illegal immigrants do come in and stay in these areas, Mike Alaniz, city manager of La Joya, said. It not only becomes a problem for the residents but for the city as well."

      Alaniz said, for years, they have tried to get a handle on the abandoned homes in La Joya. While they would like to tear them down"they cannot.

      They have to follow a process that involves a lot of paperwork.

      Alaniz told Action 4 News, they have to locate the owner, send certified letters, allow enough time for the homeowner to respond, and continue to follow up with the homeowner. "We need to identify if there are any liens on the property....certification letters---etc, etc....."

      It could take anywhere from three to six months before the city can start demolition.

      Alaniz said, in some cases, the owner tries to fix them up.

      Unfortunately there are some that are beyond repair and that TMs when they bring in Code Enforcement Officer Carlos Rodriguez.

      "We come and do an inspection to see if how much damage the home has and if its fixable or not, Rodriguez explained. We do a report to see if it is worth fixing."

      If the home is beyond repair then it goes up for demolition.