San Jose

‘It Smells. It's Very Bad': Hoarder House in East San Jose Plagues Neighbors

Residents of an East San Jose neighborhood are outraged by a hoarder in their midst, and even more so by the lack of any sort of response from city officials to whom they have complained repeatedly.

The Croft Drive house is covered with overgrown oleander and weeds, littered with the smashed window of a van, boxes and knick knacks, and home to feral cats.

“There are a lot of dead cats,” neighbor Paula Martinez said. “It smells. It’s very bad.”

Lori Garcia, who lives nearby, said: “I couldn’t even sell my house because of what’s next door to me.”

NBC Bay Area tried contacting the owner, who, according to DMV records, is 79-year-old Lillian Farris, but her phone has been disconnected.

Martinez complained that property value in the area has been hit by the house and the condition it is in.

“We even offered to help her clean it up, but she refused to accept anyone’s help,” she said of Farris.

For six years, neighbor complaints to the City Council led nowhere. Four years ago, the city agency that deals with blight began writing letters to Farris, urging her to do something to fix up the house.

City officials say Farris’ health problems and the death of a family member trying to help her, delayed the process.

“Now, we are in the process of getting a warrant to have a city contractor clean it up by end of August,” said Diane Buchanan with the San Jose Code Enforcement Department.

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