Their foreclosures delayed, vacant homes fall into disrepair

Some nights Terry and Carrie Madden won't even step onto their patio in Waldo — the stench and mosquitoes from the abandoned swimming pool next door are overpowering.

The Maddens' cash-strapped neighbors moved out in August, and the lender on the now-vacant house let it fall into disrepair. The pool is slime-green. The grass is knee-high. Once Carrie Madden had to call police to chase away burglars.

City officials say the house on West 69th Street is a prime example of a little-reported but increasingly worrisome trend: Lenders are delaying foreclosing on homes vacated by owners who can't keep up with payments.

Maintenance then stops, or it falls on taxpayers. And neighborhoods have to deal with a growing cancer of blight and falling home values.

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