Recently, Caltrans has had an issue with vacant homes it owns in El Sereno. The homes were purchased by Caltrans in the 1970s with the idea to expand the 710 Freeway. With the expansion not occuring since then, Caltrans has discussed the possibility of selling its inventory of homes in El Sereno, South Pasadena, Alhambra, and Pasadena. During this time, activists looking to spotlight issues of homelessness have occupied several of Caltrans owned homes in El Sereno prior to the Governor’s COVID-19 lockdown order.

Caltrans has decided to order the activists squatting in these homes to vacate. It will be interesting to see how Caltrans intends to “order” the activists out of their homes considering the California Judicial Council has imposed a ban on all evictions (except for those affecting the public health and safety) for ninety days after the Statewide state of emergency is lifted. Further, the Sheriff’s Department is not conducting lockouts.

Generally, even for squatters illegally occupying a home, the property owner would have to go through the unlawful detainer process, particularly the longer the squatter remains in the property.

A similar issue occurred in Oakland several months ago. There, activists wanting to spotlight homeless issues broke into and occupied homes owned by a private corporations. Those corporations were required to evict those activists through the unlawful detainer process.

KABC has the full article here “Caltrans orders activists to leave illegally occupied homes in El Sereno amid COVID-19.” 

Fore more information about the unlawful detainer process during the COVID-19 crisis, please contact Attorney Anthony Marinaccio at 818-839-5220.