California County Sticks Homeowners With $22K Bill To Clean Up Homeless Encampment

A Northern California housing community will be hit with more than $22,000 in cleanup costs after the county refused to pick up the tab, according to KPIX.

The cleanup at the Lakewood community in Castro Valley comes more than two years after the encampment was first reported to Alameda County in October 2017, as it was unclear whether the land belonged too the County, East Bay Regional Parks or the Lakewood Home Owner’s Association.

Turns out, it was HOA land.

As such, Walsh Property Management, which oversees the homeowners association, will hit each homeowner in the 75-house development with a $300 charge to cover the cleanup. Its owner, Ed Walsh, told KPIX: “There are no fences and such that would mark where the property line ended, so we were kind of hoping that it was someone else’s responsibility.”

Walsh said Alameda County told the HOA the encampment was in fact on their property in August of 2019, almost two years after the encampment first appeared.

The county also said the HOA is responsible to pay for the $20,000 cleanup.

Homeowners say the delay over property lines caused more waste to pile up, making it more expensive – so the county or Walsh Property Management should pay the bill. –KPIX

“Unfortunately this one happened to be on the association’s property,” says Walsh.

The cleanup is expected to be done by mid-February, according to the report.

Homeowner Cece Adams, who has lived in the Lakewood community for 16 years, is none too happy.

“We didn’t even know it was part of our HOA,” she said, adding “No one knew it was their responsibility. I think everyone assumed it was county’s responsibility.”

“They should have known that this was our property, and they should have taken care of it a long time ago.”


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