Student renters dump furniture, cause blight

Posted at 8:26 PM, May 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-17 23:26:50-04

There seems to be a reoccurring problem of people dumping furniture in neighborhoods near college campuses.

"I found a couch here and like a broken couch and a desk,” said Melinda Tomanka, who lives in El Cerrito near San Diego State University. “Then people started putting coffee cups and trash on it."

The SDSU campus is practically empty now with most students graduated or out for the summer.

"I do think it does have a lot to do with students when they move out,” said Tomanka.

She rents and goes to Mesa College, where some who live near that campus in Clairemont Mesa also experience the same problem. 

In El Cerrito, 10News found a queen-sized mattress in a front yard. And down the street on 55th Street, a discarded couch sat on the sidewalk, right in front of a home rented by college students.

"It's been here for about a week," said Connor Obrien. "t'll probably be here for a few more, maybe more than that."

Obrien just graduated from State. He and his roommate Jake will be leaving soon and will have to get rid of furniture too.

"We already got rid of one couch.," he said. "We have two left. But we're not just going to leave it on the side of the street."

But they know why some students choose to abandon old furniture. 

"You have to find somebody who has a truck,” said Jake Nobriga. “If they don’t have money to pay to get rid of it, then this is the quickest option because other poor students are going to come and grab a cheap couch.”

Several blocks away, Susan Hopps-Tatum has lived in the neighborhood for 22 years. She sees dumped furniture somewhere in the neighborhood at the end of Fall and Winter semesters. 

"Sometimes they'll put a free sign on it but usually it's in such bad disrepair that I can't see anyone taking it for free,” said Hopps-Tatum. “We want our neighborhood to look nice. And most of the property owners who live in the community take care of their homes."

"I think it's really disrespectful of other people's property because then we have to deal with it,” said Tomanka. 

The couch left in front of Tomanka’s home is gone, but just two houses down, there's an abandoned mattress. No telling how long that'll be there.

In San Diego, the city encourages anyone who encounters an illegal dump to report it. Click on this website for more information.