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City Makes Way for Litigation Against Hoarding Home

The city is seeking to take legal action against a home with "severe hoarding conditions" in North Diamond Bar after the home was deemed unsafe and residents refused to leave, city officials said.

The city is preparing for legal action to clean up "severe hoarding" at a home in North Diamond Bar.

The home, at 23937 Decorah Road, contains fire hazards as a result of "severe hoarding" and conditions that Community Development Director Greg Gubman called "putrid."

"Not only is it a danger to the occupants, but it is an imminent threat to surrounding residents due to the amount of combustible storage," Gubman said. "The intensity and heat of a fire there would pose an imminent threat to the surrounding neighborhood."

Gubman said the current conditions are also unsanitary for the residents of the home.

"Cats have sprayed the walls (in the home) so much that the walls are rotting," Gubman said.

Gubman said the city had red-tagged the home but residents pulled the notices off the building and remained inside.

"It's a misdemeanor to do that," Gubman said, "but it's being occupied."

The city will now begin litigation to remove the residents from the home and begin a cleanup process that will be funded out of the equity in the home through a process called "receivership."

Gubman said the city will likely recommend a "receiver" to the home — a company who will be tasked with resolving the home's code violations.

"The receivership option is the most effective tool to eliminate these dangers," Gubman said.

For weeks, the city waited to take legal action pending a change to city code to allow for legal costs to be recovered through the same process, by placing a lien on the property.

The city council approved that change at a July 5 meeting.

The city will now seek a court order to remove the residents from the home and begin the cleanup process.

Cherie July 12, 2011 at 02:31 PM
This can not be tolerated. I am glad the city is protecting the residents that live close to that house.
Gabriela Klein July 12, 2011 at 07:25 PM
Has anyone seen the TV series: Hoarders? It is a very sad, emotional problem. Ones suffering from this condition have no concept of how to get out from their way of living, to the point of alienating their friends and family. Often, other family members entrapped in these living conditions know the situation is dire, but still live under the will of the hoarder. I hope the city officials can get this family the psychological help they need to recover from this malady, not just evict them from the property.
Ruth Milligan July 12, 2011 at 08:07 PM
Wow! Curious, how was the city made aware of the conditions inside this house? Makes you wonder how many more local homes may be suffering from this type of problem..
Darren Fishell July 12, 2011 at 09:35 PM
Hi, Ruth. That should have been included in this report. Neighborhood complaints led to the city looking into this.
karen hickey July 13, 2011 at 12:49 AM
I find this interesting that city took action. I live in another city and have a neighbor that hoards and has other serious problems. I called the city to complain and was told that as long as it was not a rental property, but owner occupied, that it was their right to live in those conditions.

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