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Granada Hills homeowner sued by LA County for hoarding

Granada Hills hoarding homeowner sued by LA County
Granada Hills hoarding homeowner sued by LA County 02:45

Los Angeles County has filed a public nuisance complaint against a homeowner due to a hoarding issue that has plagued neighbors for years

CBS first reported on story back in November, which neighbors say helped with a temporary solution. But in a few month's time the trash seemed to reappear as if it had never left.

Neighbors in the surrounding area have complained about the home for years, dating back to 2018, filing complaints and seeking court orders for the removal of the junk filling the yard of the home located in the 16500 block of Bircher Street. 

In November, the city of Los Angeles sent workers to clear more than 20,000 pounds of trash from the front yard, a large amount of which people state has returned to the property. The cleanup, authorized by Councilman John Lee, cost $12,000 worth of public funds.

Now, nearly a year later, the home appears to be much clearer upon visit from CBS reporters, however, LA County officials and neighbors state that's far from the truth. 

"I saw the change as soon as that report came out," said Tina Alleguez, a woman living in the area with her family, who said it never lasts for long. "They clean it up just enough, to make it look better for the inspection."

LA County has called the home an "incessant source of public nuisance," filing the lawsuit against both the woman who owns the property and her adult son. It goes on to say that the property harbors rodents and roaches, and apart from being an eyesore, is also an "excessive and constant noise disturbance," with constant "loitering, trespass, damage to personal property, violence and threatening behavior" amongst other issues brought to light.

On top of that, the lawsuit, which references CBS' coverage and utilizes drone footage of the home from 2021, alleges that the residents have subjected their neighbors to "public nuisance conditions that have endangered the residents' health, property, safety and welfare, and have substantially and unreasonably interfered with the residents' comfortable enjoyment of life and property."

Alleguez said she won't let her teenage daughter ride her bike down to the street "just because of the undesirable people that hang out there." 

Residents are pleased to hear about the pending lawsuit, but are rightfully apprehensive in believing true change will come.

"Guarded enthusiasm and hope," said James Eric, who also lives nearby. "This wouldn't be the first time we were teased with some sort of solution."

Experts believe the lawsuit will send the home into a receivership. 

"The property pays its own cost to repair. What that means is the court will approve a lien on the property to cover the hard costs, like a contractor or a clean out crew," said Mark Adams with California Receivership Group, who said the suit is interesting in the fact that while the property falls within LA City limits, it was the county that took action. "The City of Los Angeles has a miserable enforcement record. There are properties like this all over the City of Los Angeles that should be taken care of and aren't."

A spokesperson with the LA City Attorney's office told CBS, "The City worked closely and supportively with the County in bringing the lawsuit. Because a single lawsuit is sufficient to address this situation, there was no need for the City to join or file a separate action."

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