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Sample DNS Impact Statement

This a sample statement. While it's a "worst case" scenario, you might identify some of the problems listed below that apply to your situation. Focus on "how" it has impacted you and not on "what" has impacted you. DNS has likely cited all the "what's". Now we need you to explain the "how" part. For example, so what if the paint is peeling? How did it impact you? Instead of just saying the house has peeling paint, explain what problems that causes, like lowering your resale value or (if true) it has resulted in elevated lead-blood levels in the children nearby. Here a sample of how to do it. You will have to fill in your own statements and change the underlined parts.

Dear Commissioner Collins

I am writing to you in regards to the property located at 2755 N. Anywhere Pl. I live in the area and own property there. I have lived in the neighborhood for 20 years. Recently the Department of Neighborhood Services (DNS) has taken action against the owner of the above property. I support this action and wish to make you aware of how it has harmed our neighborhood and created a negative impact.

The maintenance of the property has been totally lacking. The exterior paint is peeling and the gutters have holes in them that leak. The water from the gutters pools along side my house and runs into my basement causing flooding and possible foundation problems. Small animals have made their homes in the many holes along the eves and facia boards at my neighbor's property. This has attracted other wildlife and caused damage to my trees and well as holes in my garbage carts. I have had to pick up roof shingles from my yard.

The uneven pavement in the access walk has created a tripping hazard as people stumble walking up to the door. The unkept appearance has attracted vagrants and vandals who spray graffiti next to surrounding buildings, litter garbage in the area, and burn garbage carts. One garbage cart fire caught a garage on fire and destroyed two cars inside. The stench from people living inside has created a foul and offensive odor to those who pass by. In the summer the grass is never cut until it is a foot tall. In winter the snow never gets shoveled. The ice is a hazard on the walks and the tall grass has been a haven for rats that nest on the property.

My fire insurance has been cancelled due to the close proximity of the boarded up building. The litter problem is on-going and never gets picked up until the City has to do it. The litter blows from their yard to our yards and we end up picking it up. The junk cars on the property invite more people to park their cars there and rut up the yard. The mud tracks into out alley and clogs the sewers along with the litter and spilled garbage. There are rusted car parts, spilled oil and coolant on the ground and an illegal commercial auto repair going on. The lack of maintenance has resulted in siding being removed and damage to nearby homes.

With each change of tenants a new problem arises. We don't feel safe anymore and those who want to move can't, because according to their realtors, nobody wants to live next to this house.

We all have kept up the maintenance on our homes. We've pick up our litter and we don't disturb the rest of the neighborhood. We respectfully request that this property do likewise, and start to heal the rift that this property has created in fabric of our community.

Respectfully Submitted,

(Signed by as many of the area residents as possible.)

Obviously you need to customize your letter to fix your situation. After you are done, please mail it or drop it off for:

Art Dahlberg, Commissioner
Department of Neighborhood Services
841 N. Broadway, Room 104
Milwaukee, Wi 53202

We appreciate your efforts to help make Milwaukee a greater place to live and work in.

Often landlords can avoid complaints by keeping illegal activity out of their property. The department offers FREE training on a regular basis to those owning or managing property. See the LANDLORD TENANT TRAINING program for more information.

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