Cleanup Begins at ‘Trash House’ in Wealthy LA Neighborhood

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The single-story, Spanish bungalow-style house is situated between two multimillion-dollar homes.

Cleanup crews began the long process of removing debris from the property of a million-dollar home infamously known as the “trash house” in a wealthy Los Angeles neighborhood.

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass called it a “public health emergency” when she visited the residence in the affluent Fairfax District neighborhood on Wednesday.

“This is just outrageous and it will end today,” said the mayor.

The house is located on the 600 block of Martel Avenue, just off Melrose Avenue. The front yard is entirely covered with junk and debris. Mounds of white garbage bags have piled up several feet high around the house. The trash has accumulated on top of vehicles that appear broken down on the lawn. Vegetation has significantly overgrown around the fenced-off property.

In addition to the visible nuisance, a strong odor coming from the site has also posed a health risk to neighbors, officials said.

Neighbors said they reported the home to the city for months but they never received a response. The mayor vowed to investigate how those complaints were recorded and exactly what happened during the process.

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City records show that in 2014 the Department of Building and Safety ordered the homeowner to remove overgrown vegetation, clean up the garbage and debris, clear driveway access, and stop using the yard as open storage.

But the homeowner failed to comply and several years later was charged with two misdemeanor criminal counts of failure to comply with an order and failure to maintain his property. The case was dismissed in 2019 after significant improvements were made to the site.

However, neighbors claimed that the homeowner failed to maintain the site and it worsened over the years.

Councilwoman Katy Yaroslavsky said in a statement that homeowners are liable for the upkeep of their properties.

“Private property owners have a responsibility to maintain public health standards, and we will make sure those laws are upheld,” according to her statement.

The single-story, Spanish bungalow-style house is situated between two multimillion-dollar homes. According to real estate listings site Realtor.com, the median price range for a house in the the neighborhood is listed as $3.42 million in February 2024.

Homeowner ‘Lives in an RV’

Public city records show that Raymond Gaon has owned the house since the mid-1990s. Neighbors said the homeowner doesn’t stay inside the house and instead resides in an RV around the corner. While they have grown frustrated, they also expressed concern over the homeowner and say his apparent hoarding habit needs to be addressed for his own health and well-being.

It is estimated that around 2 percent to 6 percent of the population suffers from a hoarding disorder, according to the International OCD Foundation. Hoarding symptoms appear to be almost three times more common in older adults above 55 years old compared to younger adults. Approximately 75 percent of individuals who have a hoarding disorder have a co-occurring mental health condition.

“This is a fire hazard and I worry about the individual there, this place catching fire, him losing his life,” the mayor said.

Officials said that crews will continue their massive cleanup operation at the property and will investigate what they now describe as an“imminent health and safety hazard.”

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