An Oxnard man thought to be the first Ventura County landlord jailed over housing issues is to end his 10-day sentence Friday.
Raymond Ocampo, 61, also was fined $2,500 and placed on probation for one year.
Ocampo admitted violating a July, 1988, injunction against illegal housing practices five times between November, 1988, and May, 1989.
"To our knowledge, this is the first time a Ventura County landlord has been jailed for his rental practices," said William Kennedy of Channel Counties Legal Services Assn., who first took legal action against Ocampo last year on behalf of 15 adults and 21 children.
Ocampo was found in contempt of court by Ventura Superior Court Judge Joseph Hadden for violating a 1988 court order prohibiting illegal housing practices that involved crowding unrelated families into single-family homes.
Ocampo would rent bedrooms, living rooms and garages in single-family homes as apartments to unrelated families for $360 to $600 each, while promising to provide better, permanent housing, Kennedy said. Up to 24 people might be living in one house, he said.
"Some of the victims paid nearly $1,500 to Mr. Ocampo for last month's rent and deposits on the promises that an apartment or condominium would soon be available," Kennedy said. "Instead, the families were warehoused in single rooms while the promised housing never became available."
The case is not an isolated one in Oxnard, according to city officials.
"The Ocampo case is evidence of the problem of overcrowding," said Oxnard community development director Richard Maggio, chairman of a 4-month-old city task force investigating substandard housing.
Maggio said three or four neighborhoods out of Oxnard's 32 show serious overcrowding problems and the problem is increasing. Most complaints focus on single-family houses being rented out to large groups of people.