“What rights do we have as owners? It looks like they have every right,” said Tom Everest.
SAN DIEGO — A neighborhood in Escondido contacted CBS 8, desperate for help.
The squatters have taken over and they say nothing is being done to force them out. The property is located on El Norte Parkway in Escondido.
“It’s extremely frustrating to live next to a property that not only continues to accumulate trash, but vermin have started to appear,” neighbor Michelle Gaano said. “There are a lot of fights on the property. They have created an outbuilding as a toilet”,
According to neighbors, they have been dealing with the problem for almost two years.
Meanwhile, they noted visits from police and paramedics, saying someone died of an overdose on the property just two months ago.
“I invite everyone to come here and take a look at this and then have children and say it’s okay and it’s okay, because it’s not the case,” neighbor Tom Everest said.
It all started when the owner of the property passed away.
According to documents found by CBS 8, shortly thereafter it was foreclosed and became the Housing and Urban Development Authority, or HUD, a government agency that underwrote the mortgage.
When this happened, the large property on the corner lot sat vacant until squatters began to appear.
“It’s a beautiful area and it was beautiful until these people came in and took over. Now it’s almost impossible to get them out,” Gaana said.
According to neighbors, a code enforcement officer handling the case told them that because of squatters’ rights, they couldn’t be evicted, at least not yet.
This involves a lengthy legal process. The Escondido City Attorney’s Office reportedly said the issue would be resolved by February.
“What rights do we have as owners? It looks like they have every right,” Everest said.
CBS 8 contacted the city attorney, as well as HUD, the Escondido Police Department and the City of Escondido.
The only person who has responded so far is a spokesperson for the city of Escondido, who referred us to the city attorney and said we should receive more information on Monday.
RELATED WATCH: Residents relieved after City of San Diego changes confusing bike lanes (April 2022)