'An unforgivable accident': This Atlanta woman's home was mistakenly demolished and then the city threatened to fine her for the mess.  How to protect her greatest asset from the unexpected

‘An unforgivable accident’: This Atlanta woman’s home was mistakenly demolished and then the city threatened to fine her for the mess. How to protect her greatest asset from the unexpected

Susan Hodgson of Atlanta recently received the kind of call homeowners dread while on vacation: A panicked neighbor called her and asked, “Did you hire someone to tear down your house?”

The family property, which had been boarded up but carefully maintained for the past 15 years, was mistakenly demolished after a local construction company headed to the wrong address.

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Hodgson returned home from his holiday to find a pile of rubble, which he now has to clean up.

“I was left with a big mess,” he told FOX 5, who investigated the case after Hodgson revealed that the contractors initially refused to accept and correct their mistake.

Here’s what happened and why you should always expect the unexpected when protecting your home.

Happy memories destroyed

Fortunately, no one lived on Hodgson’s property at the time of its accidental demolition in October 2023. In fact, it was boarded up for about 15 years before its disappearance, but Hodgson insisted that he keep it “covered, with the grass cut, the garden cleaned, taxes paid…” and so on.

He also said he has happy memories of the house, describing it as “a fun place” where the family spent “a lot of good times.” In particular, she reminded him of her husband, who died years ago.

“It’s hard to believe that someone would just think they have the right to go out, break something and just walk away,” he said, alleging that the contractors failed to apologize for their mistake or make a timely offer to correct their mistake. When FOX 5 contacted the Atlanta-based contractor, they said they were investigating the matter and working to rectify it.

While that was happening, another problem arose in the rubble. Shortly after the demolition, Hodgson noticed a “Stop Work Order” from the Atlanta Department of City Planning, giving him two weeks to “fix it, clean it, finish everything and get the proper permits,” all for one project. she never wanted to.

The city issued the following statement to FOX 5: “The notice of correction provides the property owner the opportunity to bring the property into compliance. To date no citations have been issued. The property’s structure was demolished without a permit, which is a violation of city code. The property owner is responsible for his or her property and for any violations that occur with respect to that property.

“Demolition of property without the consent or knowledge of the owner is not the business of the city of Atlanta. “This is considered a civil matter between the owner of the property and the alleged perpetrator.”

Read more: Thanks to Jeff Bezos, you can now cash in on prime real estate, without the headache of ownership. That is how

Always expect the unexpected

While the chances of an accidental demolition are slim, especially if your home appears to be well-maintained, lived-in, and close to your neighbors, it is always important to expect the unexpected when it comes to protecting your home.

That’s where home insurance, or renters insurance if you don’t already own a home, really comes into play.

The Insurance Information Institute lists the leading causes of home insurance claims as: wind and hail, fire and lightning, water damage and freezing, all other property damage, liability and theft.

Consider water damage, which is one of the most common and expensive home insurance claims, and one that could increase in severity if you are away from your vacation property.

Generally, if the cause of the water damage is sudden and accidental, such as a burst pipe, then a homeowners or renters insurance policy will cover water-related damage to the structure of your home and your personal belongings. In the case of renters insurance, it can also help cover the costs of water damage caused to others.

Of course, not all risks are covered (water damage caused by a flood is generally not covered by a home insurance policy), but for a relatively small premium, you can rest easy and go on vacation knowing (with all likelihood) you will still be standing when you return.

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This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.

By Sam