Property owner leaves behind a mess

THE Launceston City Council may take the owner of a highly visible, rundown Wellington Street property to court under new regulations dealing with dilapidated buildings.

Former Launceston businessman John Stewart has been frustrated for 15 years by  the unsightly state of 198 Wellington Street, adjoined to his own property.

He said the abandoned property had devalued his own by $4000 a year in rent.

Mr Stewart said the council would be able to order a clean-up on the property under the Local Government Act as it constituted a fire risk and ``an unsightly article''.

``If this property was in the CBD, the council would take action to rectify it within months,'' Mr Stewart said.

State Parliament last year passed Local Government Act amendments that gave councils more power to rectify issues with dilapidated buildings and other nuisances.

The government is still preparing guidance material for council general managers to help them apply new dilapidated building provisions.

Launceston City Council general manager Robert Dobrzynski said the council had found it impossible to contact the Wellington Street property owner, who was understood to be living overseas.

``The council will be seeking legal remedies in order to address this matter,'' Mr Dobrzynski said.

``We understand the concern, anxiety and economic impact of dilapidated buildings on neighbouring property owners.''

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