Hill District homeowner frustrated with neighboring house in disrepair, lack of action

PITTSBURGH — A homeowner in Pittsburgh’s Hill District is pleading for help. Rich Brandon reached out to Channel 11 after he said he wasn’t getting anywhere with the city.

Brandon said the home next door to his on Cherokee Street is in such disrepair that it’s damaging his house.

“It breaks my heart,” he said. “It’s sickening.”

Bricks on the house are missing; the window is broken; and the stairs are caving in. The home appears to be falling apart and Brandon said it’s making his home unsafe.

“This was a beautiful neighborhood. I grew up here,” he said. “That house was really nice and now look at it.”

The dilapidated home is an eyesore that Brandon said he’s been dealing with for several years.

“It’s extremely frustrating,” he said. “I’ve been in contact with the city and everyone within the city.”

The condemned, run-down townhouse is connected to Brandon’s. He said it’s sat empty for at least two decades. The damage has gotten so bad, Brandon claims it’s causing problems to his home.

“I had to put that tarp up there to direct the water away from my house,” Brandon said pointing to the roof next door.

Drone 11 shows the decaying roof next door that Brandon says is sending water cascading inside his bedrooms.

“That’s a hole there and there’s a hole right there,” he said.

Brandon told Channel 11 he hasn’t been able to live in or rent the home out for the last four years and is losing thousands of dollars every month.

“Nobody can move in there,” he said. “It’s not safe.”

Brandon claims calls and letters to the mayor’s office have gone nowhere. He just wants the home torn down.

“What can I do?” Brandon said.

Pittsburgh Councilman Daniel Lavelle believes the home is no longer on the tax rolls. He told Channel 11 it was on the city’s demolition list but was taken off last year and replaced with other blighted properties in worse condition.

“I don’t know what to do anymore,” Brandon said. “I don’t know what else to do.”

Councilman Lavelle said he’s working with the mayor’s office to find a way to get the home back on the demolition list and is hoping to have it taken care of this year or next.

Channel 11 reached out to the mayor’s office and the spokeswoman told us they’re looking into it.

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