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Squatter concerns arise as abandoned Olivehurst home is abated

May 2—In early April, Yuba County Code Enforcement abated an abandoned home in Olivehurst, citing the property as unsafe to occupy. However, one resident believes that the presence of squatters contributed to the home’s state of disrepair.

The residence, situated within the 4900 block of Olivehurst Avenue, was reportedly left vacant for no less than seven years by its proprietor Becky Salazar. The home was beforehand occupied by Salazar’s mom who handed away earlier than Salazar took possession.

According to Nora Stewart, housekeeping supervisor for Comfort Suites in Linda, Salazar started staying on the motel shortly after her mom’s loss of life whereas she cleaned out the home. Stewart stated that Salazar suffers from dementia, which might trigger her to imagine that she has solely been residing at Comfort Suites for a number of months somewhat than a number of years.

The Appeal reached out to Salazar for remark, however didn’t obtain a response by press time on Thursday.

One witness stated that though they didn’t know Salazar, they drove previous her home each few days and noticed no less than two folks occupying the house and “destroying it.”

“All of a sudden, I start seeing people. … The weekend hits, and there’s an old trailer with a camper on top pulled into the driveway and there are two trailers of junk out front. Overnight, they just sprung up. It looked like a homeless camp,” the witness, who wished to stay nameless, stated. “My understanding is that (Salazar) got sick and had to go to the hospital, and in the meantime, squatters broke in.”

Stewart instructed the Appeal that Salazar was hospitalized practically two years in the past, however has been constantly residing at Comfort Suites each earlier than and after that point.

The witness additionally claimed that the squatters allegedly held a yard sale to promote Salazar’s belongings.

“I got to walk in. There were hypodermic needles everywhere. It was her mother’s house, and she kept saying, ‘They sold my mother’s mahogany bedroom set.’ And they did. They had a yard sale over the weekend,” the witness stated. “They just broke in and took over her little house.”

Squatting is the motion of occupying an abandoned constructing or space that an individual doesn’t hire, personal or in any other case have permission to make use of. Squatting is unlawful in California, however squatters are permitted sure rights below the legislation. For instance, a property proprietor can solely evict a squatter after serving a three-day eviction discover.

However, this doesn’t permit anybody to say possession of a property simply by taking on residency. In order to stake claims to a property by means of antagonistic possession, state legislation mandates {that a} squatter should occupy the property repeatedly and brazenly for no less than 5 years. They should additionally pay property taxes for that period. Still, occupying a property for any period of time with out permission is trespassing below California legislation.

Code Enforcement Manager Jeremy Strang confirmed {that a} citizen grievance was made concerning property circumstances for the home on Olivehurst Avenue. Code Enforcement inspected the property and deemed it unsafe to occupy as a result of substandard circumstances, together with electrical hazards, sewage points and unsafe roofing amongst different issues. However, Code Enforcement is unable to find out the standing of alleged squatters on any property.

“Code Enforcement’s role is to focus on property conditions, and is not the arbiter of who may or may not have a legal right to occupy a property. That is an issue between the property owner and the occupant that may be adjudicated in a civil proceeding,” Strang stated.

Yuba County public data point out {that a} case was first opened towards Salazar’s property on Nov. 8, 2023, citing it as abandoned and unsecured. The case was closed on April 5, however the witness claims that squatters had been occupying the property till April 25.

“Code Enforcement is working to provide a more holistic approach to property maintenance and upholding community standards. One example of that is having Sheriff’s deputies assigned to our Code Enforcement team. Because Code Enforcement cases can include elements relating to criminal activity, health and safety, access to resources, and more, the goal is that each team member has a specific duty and can help continue a case forward whichever direction it ends up taking. The desired outcome of this collaborative approach is a cleaner and safer community for our residents,” Strang stated.

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