Judge orders Sylmar property with more than 20 RVs be vacated, including homeowner

Thursday, July 20, 2023
Judge orders controversial Sylmar property with RVs be vacated
A judge has ordered the home with more than 20 RVs in Sylmar be vacated by Sunday, including the house where the property owner lives.

SYLMAR, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A judge has ordered the home with 23 RVs in Sylmar be vacated by Sunday, including the house where the property owner lives.

The development comes one day after utility crews cut the power to the controversial property, which has been causing a health and safety hazard to residents and neighbors for years.

In court on Wednesday, an attorney for the city argued that parts of the property have already been red-tagged, and that it is uninhabitable and dangerous due to faulty electrical hook-ups and human waste sewage problems.

The city attorney also said that 11 of the 23 RVs on the lot house either small children or elderly residents.

The homeowner, Cruz Godoy, has been charged with misdemeanors related to zoning and permit violations and appeared in court on Wednesday. The pre-trial hearing was continued to August 3.

"It's unlivable. It's been unlivable for four years and the property owner has been letting people live there, and that's just unacceptable," said Kurt Cabrera Miller, the president of the Sylmar Neighborhood Council, which had just recently started helping nearby residents get the property cleared out and hopefully cleaned up.

Residents of the RVs say Godoy charges them around $500 a month for each mobile home. Aerial images show there are more than 20 RVs on the property.

See our previous reports on this property here on YouTube.

Neighbors of the RV-packed property have been complaining about unhealthy conditions and invasive odors for years. Residents have captured images of human waste leaking off Godoy's property and onto sidewalks and into neighboring yards.

"You see the video, you know. Everybody see how the feces went through there, and we have to clean. We have to clean that mess," said Maria Macias, who lives next door to the RV property.

Macias is now relieved that the city is finally acting to solve the problem.

The goal now is to find homes for all the people living in the RVs.

Godoy has refused to comment to Eyewitness News over her controversial property, even as she walked into court for her hearing on Wednesday.

For some reason, Godoy ended up skipping the hearing and having her lawyer attend via videoconference.

Manny Femat, who does maintenance for Godoy, says Godoy is only trying to provide shelter for the RV residents.

He warned that if the RVs are removed, it will just add to the city's homelessness problem.

WATCH: Sylmar RV residents face uncertainty after property ordered vacated

The goal is to find homes for all the people living in a RV lot in Sylmar after a judge ordered the property to be vacated.

"If they decide to take the trailers out, then they're going to have them right here, parked in the street," Femat said. "There are trailers out there in the street right now. They don't even have tags on them and they're allowed to stay out there."

"I don't know where we are going to go. They only gave us about four days here," one resident who lives at the property said in Spanish.

She and her three children live in one of the RVs on the lot. She was tearful, worried about her children.

"My son says to me, 'Mommy, are we homeless? Because they took our home away from us,'" the woman said.

The embattled property sits in L.A. Councilmember Monica Rodriguez's district. She spoke to Eyewitness News on Wednesday.

Why did it take years for officials to do anything about the RVs? Rodriguez said she blames the pandemic for crippling the court system and the media for scaring residents from exploring new housing options.

"Unfortunately, it jeopardized the residents who are actually in that property right now, because they are now fearful to seek the resources that they need," Rodriguez said.

But Macias sees it differently.

"I tried to get the attention of the San Fernando City, Los Angeles, and I didn't get answered until, thanks to the media, that finally somebody hear our voice," she said.

Also on Wednesday, Rodriguez's office issued a press release that said she has been "discretely coordinating resources to offer alternative housing solutions to those residing in the RV's and working with Emergency Management and Recreation and Parks Departments to stand up emergency shelter upon being informed that power would be shut off."

"In advance of the court-ordered 4-day vacate notice issued today, we operated with measured discretion and urgency for the protection of the residents on the property. In collaboration with our Emergency Management and Recreation and Parks Departments, we quickly assembled emergency shelter and housing relocation assistance through a partnership with the Los Angeles Housing Department and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority," Rodriguez said, according to the release.

Rodriguez said about 43 people are being assisted with relocation services.