Martinez Neighbors Worried About Squatters

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A Contra Costa County neighborhood is dealing with what they call an unsightly and unhealthy home as the people who lost it to foreclosure, never really left.

Residents are calling on the county Tuesday to do something about the squatters and the squalor.

“It’s not good for them, it’s not healthy for anyone,” said neighbor Carl Haupt.

A house on Palm Avenue in Martinez went into foreclosure in April but Haupt says the occupants and their dogs never fully moved out.

Haupt said the bank-owned house has become not just an eyesore but dangerous, both for squatters and for neighbors. He said the place is infested with mold and rats.

“The rats, you can see them in the windows, you can see them running through the windows,” said Haupt.

Nikola Grcic and his family just moved into their new home down the street and hates walking by. County code enforcement says they’re preparing to take action. They plan to clean and board it up by the end of February.

“I wish somebody would do something about it this neighborhood is really nice, clean like you see. That’s the only house ruining the neighborhood,” Grcic said.

The man who used to own the property said he admits that he is still in the process of removing his belongings and is “embarrassed.”

“It’s just not fair. You work hard, you work hard to buy a home, so you can have quality of life and somebody can take it way just like that,” Haupt said.

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