A pair of house have been declared public nuisances by the City Council, which voted to clean them up at the owners' expense.
The houses, at 7862 Orangewood Ave. and 11501 Santa Rosalia St., are both owned by Robert N. and Sarah L. Clingan of Huntington Beach, according to property records, and are worth nearly $150,000 each.
The houses have been vacant for years, neighbors told council members at Tuesday's meeting, and have been badly neglected. Weeds several feet tall have grown up around the single-story dwellings, and the yards are filled with debris and garbage.
Neighbors said the more pressing issue, however, is that vagrants, knowing the buildings to be unoccupied, have broken in and taken up residence.
"I have seen people building fires inside," said Bonnie Mitchell, who lives near the Orangewood house. "One man camped out back for a month. And this happens all the time."
Jim McClanahan, a neighbor in the Santa Rosalia area, told council members a similar story. "I peeked inside one time and saw that mattresses had been dragged in and people were living there," he said. "The whole house is a disaster."
The council voted unanimously at Tuesday's meeting to have city crews mow the unkempt yards, pick up the trash and, in an attempt to keep out trespassers, fence the houses in. The owners will be charged for the city's cleanup effort.
The city has repeatedly asked the owners to do some yardwork and to fix broken windows, Mayor Harry Dotson said, but they have refused to do so.
"We have tried to work with them," Dotson said. "Numerous phone calls and letters were made, but they always gave an excuse."
The owners could not be reached Thursday for comment.