Kaisertown neighborhood fights invisible foe over “zombie property”

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Marcia Murawski and her neighbors on Gorski Street are fed up with the abandoned “zombie property” next door, and Marcia contacted Call 4 Action to find the property owner.

“For the last two-and-a-half years, this property has been empty,” said Murawski. “No one has claimed it, no one comes to do anything.”

Neighbors are also trying to send a message to the owner, whoever that might be by posting a sign on the front porch.

“I guess frustration of neighbors, and the sign says ‘Where is my owner? I need some TLC.’ That is because it does. It is a good house, probably could have some potential for a young couple. It is not big, and why not?”

The weeds in the front are overgrown, but in the backyard the vegetation is high enough to get lost in, and neighbors say, there are lots of critters that hide in a small shed.

City records show the property is owned by a Canadian-based investment firm, which would put the company just beyond the reach of local officials, and city housing court.

But Murawski said, it is not so much whether the property owner lives in the neighborhood, “We have a lot of absentee landlords, but they are maintained. That is the important thing–you don’t have to be here to keep your property up, and that is what it takes.”

Marcia said people have driven by and asked how can they buy the house, but there are no simple answers. Frustrating the homeowners here even more, Murawski says, the last person that owned the house filed bankruptcy which complicated things even further.

Murawski said eventually the bank foreclosed on the mortgage.

“They wouldn’t give me any information because it was personal. I said that’s fine, but there were people interested in the property–and still are–but we don’t know who to contact.”

News 4 reached out to the Canadian-based firm which city officials say owns the zombie property on Gorski Street, but a spokesman at the firm’s office in Amherst denied the company denied they own that property.

Call 4 Action will keep digging, find out who the real owner is, and what they plan to do with that eyesore on Gorski Street.

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