Neighbors fear for their safety after squatters take over dead man’s home

Neighbors fear for their safety after squatters take over dead man’s home
Residents say squatters have taken over this home in Waipahu. (Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Residents of a Waipahu neighborhood say close to a dozen squatters have taken over a dead man’s home and turned it into a filthy drug den.

And despite years of complaints, no one’s evicted the illegal tenants.

The situation has given the quiet community tucked behind Honowai Elementary a seedy reputation.

Neighbors say problems on Hulahe Street started in 2015.

Within a few months of the property owner’s death, people they’d never seen before started hanging out around the man’s front yard.

It wasn’t long before they moved in.

Now, the three-bedroom home is all but hidden behind abandoned cars and piles of rubbish.

A neighbor who asked that we not use her name says fights are common there.

“They always give us a weird look,” she said. “I don’t even feel safe walking past the house anymore.”

And adults aren’t the only ones living in squalor.

“You see little kids playing with the trash and stuff,” she said.

Despite repeated calls to Honolulu police and years spent complaining to the city, the problems have only gotten worse.

City officials confirm they’re aware of the property owner’s death. But because there’s no record of a new owner, they continue to send bills to the abandoned home.

The vice chairman of the Waipahu Neighborhood Board says a potential solution could be for the city to initiate foreclosure proceedings.

But that’s going to take a while.

“The earliest they could do it if the property taxes continue to be unpaid is 2020,” said Cory Chun.

HNN also spoke with Councilman Ron Menor’s office.

A spokesman said they’re once again taking the issue to the mayor. He added they’ve also asked police on numerous occasions to monitor the property for violations of the law.

Copyright 2019 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.