An unkempt lawn could do more than irritate your neighbors in one Long Island, N.Y., village -- it could land you in jail.
The Massapequa Park village board unanimously passed a law imposing fines and even jail time on homeowners who don't keep up their properties, Massapequa Patch reports. Aside from not mowing the lawn, eyesores including full dumpsters, broken gutters, excessive litter, boarded-up doors and windows, unattended shopping carts and graffiti can land homeowners in hot water.
The owners -- including banks that have foreclosed properties -- have 10 days to comply with a village order to clean up their premises before stiff penalties are imposed. The first offense carries a penalty of up to $1,000, but subsequent offenses can carry jail time and even heavier fines. Three offenses within five years can bring up to 15 days in jail and as much as a $10,000 fine.
"People take great pride in this village and they take great pride in their property," Massapequa Park Mayor James Altadonna said at the village board meeting. "There's a few landowners who don't feel the same way as the rest of us and we've really tried to work with them."
Altadonna also proposed a law that would charge banks $500 every time village employees have to clean up their foreclosed properties.
Read more about Massapequa Parks new property regulations on Massapequa Patch.
Massapequa Park isn't the first town to force its residents to mow their lawns. A woman from Mount Pleasant, S.C., spent six days in jail for refusing to mow and declutter her yard earlier this year. She recently made headlines again after harassing an officer who arrived to check on further complaints.
Abandoned and foreclosed properties, meanwhile, increasingly pose problems across the U.S. A recent study suggested that banks tend to ignore foreclosed properties in minority areas. And in Chicago, banks walked away from underwater properties, leaving them completely abandoned.
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