A crumbling home on York Street in east London has been vacant for four years and complaints to city hall have done little to help.

The city did put a six foot fence around the property in December and sealed the doors, but the city can’t apply to demolish it.

Since the house isn’t on the verge of collapse, it is deemed safe.

“They’re telling me that as long as the house is safe and secure - it isn't, literally, falling in on itself - there is not much they can do,” says neighbour Phill Labatt.

“It is just going from bad to worse and it’s now surrounded by a steel cage - advertising it’s abandoned and empty and we've had squatters going in there.”

But the city's practice of securing the house and then surrounding it with a fence, hasn't prevented properties nearby from being impacted.

Mary Ellen Young blames burst water pipes in the vacant home for water that damaged her basement wall.

“It’s been estimated at $15,000 to $18,000 just to work on the outside of the basement, not to mention the inside,” she says.

Stephen Orser, the ward councillor, has asked for tougher property standards, but rules that protect families from being evicted can also benefit absentee homeowners.

“I think we need to step up enforcement, but again our hands are tied at the provincial level,” Orser says.

So now neighbours are left wondering how much longer this house will decay. They say the owner lives in Sarnia.

CTV’s attempts to contact the owner were unsuccessful.