SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A Clairemont “hoarder” home that has been a source of neighborhood complaints in recent years is finally being cleaned up.
The San Diego City Attorney’s Office announced that cleanup at a home in the 4000 block of Epanow Avenue has started after a judge-signed order.
According to the City Attorney’s Office, neighbors began complaining about debris piling up on the property more than five years ago. Officials said, “Boats, cars, trucks, tools, and other personal property littered the front and side yards. Upon investigation, City Code Enforcement inspectors found the resident, a man in his 60s, living in dangerous and deplorable conditions.”
Officials added, “The interior of the house had only a narrow pathway from the front door to the bedrooms, bathroom, and kitchen, with household items, trash, and debris stacked four to five feet high on all sides, severely limiting ingress and egress. The back door was blocked and unusable due to excess storage and trash. The garage was also piled high with household items, tools, and debris. San Diego County Vector Control confirmed the presence of rats.”
Earlier this year, the city ordered the home’s owner to vacate and fix the property. However, officials said no improvements were made.
Officials asked that a receiver be appointed to oversee the property, and on Wednesday, a judge approved the request.
According to officials, the home is now “under the care of a receiver who will oversee clean-up and repairs and arrange for support services for the defendant. The resident has begun cleanup of the interior which is being monitored by the receiver and will be allowed to remain living in the home for the time being.”
10News spoke to the homeowner, Randy Acord. He felt he is unfairly being painted as a "hoarder."
"I'm just trying to survive. I'm just trying to live, you know?" Acord said.
The 62-year-old Navy Veteran says his leg was amputated after a motorcycle accident in 2012. Since then, simple chores like tidying up have become difficult. But neighbors say conditions in and around the home were getting exponentially worse and notified the City Attorney's Nuisance Abatement Unit.
"I do care about you," neighbor Colette Davis said. She said she felt sympathetic toward Acord, but noticed that the conditions were getting out of hand. " I have been praying for you. I keep you in my thoughts and prayers. It's not that I dislike you as a human being. It's just that your actions and your disrespect for all of us, we just can't go on."
City staff took several photos of the deplorable conditions spanning several months of this year. They found at least 13 health and safety code violations. They told Acord to clean up or get out, but he did not. So a judge assigned a "Receiver," a person responsible for supervising the clean up and arranging support services for the homeowner.
"I've been working on it, but I'm not working on it fast enough, so that's why I let receiver take care of the backyard," Acord said.
Acord welcomed the 10News crew inside of his living room, proving that he had made some improvements. But when we asked to see his bedrooms, he declined.
"I'd rather not," Acord said. "It's my house, and I've had enough people coming here and pushing me around and stuff. Everybody around here has nothing to do but sit and watch me. It's like get a life! You know?"
In some cases, hoarding can indicate a mental health issue. Hoarding disorder occurs in an estimated 2 to 6 percent of the population and is more common among adults over 55, the Mayor Clinic reports.
Helping a person with hoarding disorder clean their home does not address the root cause of their condition, according to UC San Diego Health. The San Diego Hoarding Collaborative, a group of mental health and community professionals, created a resource guide to help families.
Anyone who wishes to report code, health and safety and environmental violations can contact the City Attorney's Nuisance Abatement Unit at 619-533-5655 or click here to fill out a form.