South Bay nonprofit helps neighborhood evict troublesome tenants

They threatened to sue the homeowner and he settled out of court. Neighbors were happy the a local organization helped get the tenants evicted.

Wayne Combs has lived in his South San Jose home for 40 years. He said it was perfect up until four and half years ago when his neighbor next door moved out and rented the home under Section 8 housing.

"House from hell is a good way to put it," said Combs.

Combs said weeds were growing three feet high outside and 14 people lived there at one point. He documented the tenants throwing garbage in his pool, running over his mailbox and shooting up his home with a pellet gun.

"Then the drug use started, growing pot in the backyard," remembered Combs. "Then meth started being smoked and traded out in the streets."

He and his neighbors then enlisted the help of the Responsible Landlord Engagement Initiative run by the nonprofit Neighborhood Housing Services Silicon Valley.

"The community is the one that has the power and we act as mediators," said Jaime Angulo from RLEI.

Since 2009, the program has helped 20 neighborhoods resolve issues with problem tenants, including an East San Jose home filled with filth and trash. 26 cases are pending. The majority of the homes are rented out.

"Now the cases are pouring in," said Angulo.

In the case of Combs's neighborhood, RLEI suggested the neighbors sue. The homeowner settled out of court and evicted the tenants.

Combs's surveillance camera captured the tenants appearing to steal what they could when they left, taking everything from interior doors to even the mailbox. KTVU caught up with that homeowner who asked not to be identified.

"I don't live here, so I don't know," said the homeowner. "Every time I came down here, everything looked good."'

The homeowner said he'll have responsible tenants from now on. Combs isn't so sure.

"All of us are waiting with baited breath," said Combs. "This time we aren't going to wait four years we will take him to court."

The nonprofit wants to help more neighborhoods, so they are asking the City of San Jose for a $600,000. The nonprofit won't know if they get the money until the end of June when the budget is approved.