The city is taking action against a neglected property in Makiki.
Outside, old cars and piles of trash cover the yard.
Neighbors say they’ve been tolerant of the property for years, but patience is running out. They say it’s not just an eyesore, but a health and safety hazard.
“We do what we can to try and keep it clean, as I’m doing today. I try to keep the mosquitoes down. I’m spraying,” said neighbor Wade Reeves. “It’s pretty hard. It’s pretty disgusting. There’s a lot of cats, rats, everything runs around.”
“The cats keep the rats in check, lately, I’ve noticed, but some of the rats are bigger than the cats. It’s really dangerous,” said Makiki neighborhood board member Paul Klink. “They have to close their doors because cats and rats are running into their homes.”
The home has been on the city’s radar for over a decade. The city started fining the homeowner back in 2007. The daily $50 fines totaled $155,400.
Then a law that passed in 2015 gave the city power to clean “neglected properties” and bill the homeowner for the costs. The city issued an updated violation that year, after the new law took effect.
The owner was fined an initial $250, then racked up $250 in daily fines up until this month, to the tune of $95,750.
After repeated attempts to work with the owner, the city says it is taking matters into its own hands by resorting to legal action.
The city said in a statement: “Because none of the fines have been paid, we’ve asked our attorneys to take legal action that would allow the city to abate the unsafe and unsanitary conditions on the property.”
This would be the second time the city has cleaned up a home. In 2015, a judge approved the city’s court order to clean up a Kaimuki home that was neglected for years.
Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi says the sooner the city takes action, the better.
“In the Kaimuki home, it was over $120,000. They actually paid it back,” she said. “In this case, I’m sure if that’s what’s holding him up, I’m sure payment can be worked out, but anything to get this over with.
“It’s really unfair that this sits here,” Kobayashi added. “I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I were living next door. Those people are really upset.”