152 4th Avenue Cleanup

A hazardous materials team is busy trying to empty the trash-filled home at 152 4th Avenue.  And while the detective on the scene couldn’t comment as an investigation is underway, according to a tipster, it appears as through the corpse of the former owner might be inside, which would explain why the property taxes haven’t been paid in a number of years and the home was reportedly foreclosed upon.

From our tipster:

“Someone finally went in to see the status of [the] home and the smell of the place was overwhelming.  Apparently the owner was in there and has been dead for 7 yrs.  A “not sane” vagrant has been living in the house for sometime with her dog [and] garbage is piled from ceiling to floor as the vagrant…never took out garbage.”

UPDATE: According to a neighbor, the reported “vagrant,” a severe hoarder who has been hospitalized, is actually the daughter of the homeowner. And according to the daughter, her mother’s death was never reported and the hazardous materials team is clearing the house to see if the body is inside.

And while property taxes haven’t been paid for a few years, it doesn’t appear a tax lien foreclosure has occurred.

UPDATE: As first reported, a corpse has been found.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Wai Yip Tung

    No heir? No one seems to care if the owner is alive? That’s sad. Even the lender who has money at stake takes 7 years to foreclose the house?

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      I assume they mean tax lien foreclosure, not loan foreclosure.

  2. Posted by Wai Yip Tung

    And neighbors don’t care that’s place is taken over by a vagrant?

    • Posted by Ham

      Just don’t put in a deck! Don’t you dare put in a deck!

  3. Posted by Mystery Realtor

    It’ll be flipped and hit the market at $2.5M

    • Posted by matteo

      no extra charge for angry ghost.

      • Posted by San FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

        There should be. Move over painted ladies, the 4th Avenue Ghost House is the new cool kid in town.

    • Posted by Teresa

      Bec the death occurred more than three years ago it won’t have to be disclosed.

      • Posted by 4th gen SF'er

        LOL. Is that true? From the article ” Apparently the owner was in there and has been dead for 7 yrs. ” wow. Of course single people, and people without children or estranged from their children/gc are always afraid this will happen to them.

        Also agree it will be flipped for millions. Inner Sunset is a hot neighborhood.

        • Posted by 4th gen SF'er

          Or Inner Richmond. Can’t remember which this addy is.

          • Posted by Moto mayhem

            It’s inner richmond between California and lake

      • Posted by soccermom

        Don’t worry. Socketsite will disclose it.

      • Posted by Trish Sohle

        True! And no box on the TDS or SPQ for vagrant squatter!!!

      • Posted by Michael

        If the death hasn’t been confirmed medically, the death will be official once the remains are found and pronounced by paramedics.

  4. Posted by EBGuy

    Someone was paying the power company, per the recorder’s office. I hope the “not sane” vagrant isn’t the daughter. Looks like the father passed in 2000.

  5. Posted by Sutro_Tower

    The house has beautiful bones to work off of.

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      But you need a skeleton key to get in. (Or, in this case, out.)

      • Posted by San FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

        Someone will have to coffin some serious dough to get it back to its splendor though.

  6. Posted by alfonso ribeiro breaking board

    still waiting for the funny …

  7. Posted by Moto mayhem

    I live nearby. We thought the “vagrant” was a renter, although clear neither her or her dog have had a bath in yrs. she does smile and is friendly.

  8. Posted by Tim

    So, open house this weekend?

    • Posted by San FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

      It would take more than a fresh batch of cookies and party ballons to get me in this hell hole.

  9. Posted by Orland

    What happens to hoarders.

  10. Posted by youknowwhatImean?

    Such a sad story and state of affairs. I hope the person referred to as the “vagrant” gets the help needed and very sad to read that someone could die in their home and no one (no friends, family or neighbors) even know for 7 years.

    • Posted by San FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

      Sometimes people outlive their relatives.

  11. Posted by CVLawyer

    Did anyone inform the vagrant she may own the house? (Trying to remember what the adverse possession law is in CA.)

    • Posted by 4th gen SF'er

      I just looked that up. That is a frightening law. Yes you are correct.

    • Posted by Orland

      Does not the true owner need to know of and acquiesce to the “adverse possession? ” Tough burden to meet under the circumstances.

      • Posted by Bud Mor

        That is the exact opposite to adverse possession. It has to be adverse the true owner i.e. if the true owner acquiesces it is not adverse and so no adverse possession.

    • Posted by Trish Sohle

      It’s 7 years!

    • Posted by guyfox

      California law requires that this vagrant would have had to have been paying the property taxes while occupying the property in order to gain ownership through adverse possession. As this is likely a tax lien foreclosure the vagrant was most likely not paying the taxes.

      • Posted by BobN

        What if she has a wealthy benefactor who can swoop in at the last minute and pay the back taxes?

        • Posted by soccermom

          Seriously, where it the Tenderloin Housing Clinic on this? Sounds like we just figured out a new homeless housing policy.

          WHY DOESN’T ED LEE SUPPORT LOW INCOME HOUSING FOR HOARDERS?
          HE SHOULD WAIVE THE BACK TAXES!!!!!

          • Posted by BobN

            Policy, schmolicy, I was thinking it was a good business opportunity. Plop down a few thou (assuming the deceased’s tax rate was pretty low), fix it up, split the proceeds with the current owner/vagrant. Win, win. Pity I’m out of town…

          • Posted by Matt B

            7 years of property taxes on a house in SF that would be appraised at $1m+? Try a few hundred thou

          • Posted by BobN

            The assessed value is less than $70K. I suspect annual property taxes are in the low hundreds.

          • Posted by San FronziScheme

            Prop 13 at work.

      • Posted by a neighbor

        shes still not a vagrant

        • Posted by San FronziScheme

          Wasn’t. But now she probably will be until all this estate mess is resolved.

    • Posted by RobBob

      I think in California you have to pay the propery tax for adverse possession. You only get a prescriptive easement otherwise.

  12. Posted by Emo

    This is a macabre musical waiting to happen.

  13. Posted by San FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

    I hope someone is properly sorting out the recyclables from the compostables from all that trash. Otherwise this will be a long weekend at Sunset Scavengers.

  14. Posted by Jim

    It took the City 7 years to notice that property taxes were’t being paid? Good thing the City doesn’t need money.

  15. Posted by Jessica James

    Poor writing, misinformation, ignorant and asinine remarks… welcome to the new sf.

    • Posted by BobN

      Yeah, I miss the better writing of yesteryear, too.

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      What, you want insincere hand-wringing and tut-tut-tutting? “Gosh, I feel so bad for someone I never knew, and who never affected my life in any way.” Better?

    • Posted by moto mayhem

      the writing was only wrong about the “vagrant” which was a reasonable assumption considering the situation. It was also the rumor going around the neighborhood. The talk of Cumaica coffee on Fri and Sat.

      Socketsite was right about the body and broke this before anyone. They knew about the body on Friday. Chron was 2 days late to the story and got it wrong. Of course, they featured Eric MAr saying he was concerned about the neighbors. Like he really cares, and if he does, he should be concerned about the daughter and her poor dog. The part of this story that doesnt add up is the tenant. Honestly how could he not know the shape of the rest of the home, especially if full or rats, spiders, and smelling so bad.

  16. Posted by Jessie

    There is no vagrant, never has been. House hasn’t had taxes paid in a few years, owner of the home lived there with her daughter, her daughter was a severe hoarder, daughter informed her lawyer that her mother’s death was not reported, they are clearing the house to see if her body is there. Daughter is in the hospital under evaluation. We don’t need anymore nosy people driving by asking, “woah, what happened?!” We want to get back to our lives. We don’t need people racing down our street disturbing or lifes more than this whole incident has. If you live in the neighborhood, each out and ask a neighbor.

    • Posted by a neighbor

      thank you jessie!! its sad how people assume someone is a vagrant just by their appearance.

      • Posted by anon

        Talked with the folks moving the trash out. They confirmed the presence of a corpse.

  17. Posted by inclinejj

    That area is prime SF Real Estate. I vaguely remember a foreclosure in the neighborhood but not sure if it was this house. I would have passed the tip on to SocketSite had it went to foreclosure.

  18. Posted by Moto mayhem

    I took a look from the sidewalk today. Completely unbelievable how much trash inside, and I think they’ve already been cleaning for 2 days

  19. Posted by a neighbor

    actually she is the daughter of the owners’, NOT A VAGRANT. sad judgements based on appearences.

    • Posted by anon

      Um, I don’t think it’s too much of a judgment to assume that the person living in a house for SEVEN years with decaying CORPSE in the same house is likely a vagrant rather than the daughter of the dead person.

    • Posted by castroresident

      and if you’re truly “a neighbor” shame on you for having said nothing for 7 years.

  20. Posted by 4th gen SF'er

    Well, she’s won a lottery ticket should she decide to sell. I’m willing to bet this was an old SF family who bought when prices were much cheaper.

    • Posted by Moto mayhem

      Since the house is assessed at $70k. You’re clearly right. Not sure if she will get the windfall. Depends on the situation around death of her mother. Assume she will be committed as well. 7 years living with a corpse and floor to ceiling trash is not a good sign for sanity. I’ve seen this lady around. She was always with her dog. The only thought I had was “poor poor dog” because dog was very dirty, dogs hair very matted and clearly not taken care of. She always smiled and was friendly, although clearly a little off

      • Posted by Jenner

        I don’t think people can be “committed” any more, unless they are a danger to themselves or others. She will more than likely be released after a 72 hour hold at General.

        • Posted by San FronziScheme

          And then she’d probably be homeless.

        • Posted by moto mayhem

          you’re right about people not being able to be comitted. Its a big problem IMHO, as if being committed by govt was still allowed, this would help clean up SF homeless problem.

  21. Posted by Amewsed

    Makes me sad to hear about a mother who was unable to help her daughter and a daughter unable to help herself. I think the best outcome is to sell the house and use the proceeds to pay for the daughter to live in an assisted living facility. Hoarders can have deep compassion and patience as well as being generous with their time and love (provided they are in a safe and secure environment.) I am sure the deceased homeowner mother would want that for her daughter, and I hope her daughter could enjoy life again someday.

    In due time, the house will get renovated to its highest and best use and a nice family will have their own fond memories living there.

  22. Posted by Joel

    The story in the chronicle reports that there was an occupied in-law unit in the house. How could the tenant not have known about the daughter’s situation and sought help for her? He must have been getting quite the bargain on rent…

    • Posted by BayviewSF

      It is hard to believe that the tenant did not notice that mother died or disappeared. If the daughter is not sane, how do we know if the tenant has been paying rent for these years?

  23. Posted by Amewsed

    A conservator will likely be appointed if there are no other immediate family members other than the daughter. Judicial process takes a while to get moving on these types of cases but the conservator should act in the best interests of the daughter, sort all of the assets, determine if there is a will/trust, and deal with the tenant issue.

  24. Posted by youknowwhatImean?

    This is such a sad story all around. I hope the daughter gets the help she needs and recovers from all that she is going through.

  25. Posted by eddy

    Sad. Hope the best for the well being of anyone associated with the situation. I’m sure this stuff happens all the time in remote locations. At least this home will have a staggering value when all said/done. Hope someone in the family can step up and take control of the situation.

  26. Posted by moto mayhem

    according to Zillow, this home has 1130 sq ft of living space on a relatively small lot. The going rate for this neighborhood is 850/sq ft. That right around $1M. I can only imagine how much work will need to be done to make this a nice place, not to mention the new owner googling the address and finding out all this stuff. “mystery Realtor” above mentions $2.5M Im assuming in jest. Does anyone really think this place will go for much more than $1M?

  27. Posted by Amewsed

    This property is prime candidate for a complete tear down. The mold, pest infestation, decomposing body issues combined with the lack of maintenance and need for safe electrical and plumbing upgrades outweigh any value in keeping even the bones of the house. In essence, who ever buys this property is really buying the land underneath the unsalvagable house. Hope the City will expedite the demolition permit process as I am sure the neighbors would like to see a new project in its place as soon as possible. Regardless, I doubt anything can be done until it gets sorted out in the court system which could take a few years.

    • Posted by San FronziScheme

      I read “black widow spiders” in the SF Comical. I hope the Recology guys get extra pay.

    • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

      I hope it isn’t a complete tear down. Maybe gut it to the framing and rebuild though.

      • Posted by Amewsed

        No one will want to buy if it is just a gut job to the studs. Then again, it isn’t my or your call.

        • Posted by BobN

          Not that I’d want it gutted to the studs, but isn’t that just step #1 in the creation of “soulless white boxes”?

  28. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    It would be interesting to know whether the deceased social security checks had been cashed after the unreported death.

    • Posted by Amewsed

      This assumes that the decedent had worked (W-2s or 1099 self-employment income) in the past. She may not have much in social security benefits if she only had passive income.

      • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

        Perhaps though if she had not worked then it is likely that she was married to and survived someone who did earn W2 income. So she would assume his SS benefits.

        The reason that I ask is that in past cases where a death was unreported it turned out that the reason was because someone was illegally cashing the SS checks and did not want the stream of free income to stop.

        • Posted by inclinejj

          Or the wife could have claimed the late husbands social security.

  29. Posted by Mrs L

    There was a house over in Potrero a number of years ago that I went and looked at, filled with hoarder stuff – I walked in, walked back out, and then spent the next week trying to shower it all off me. Ick.

    Anyway, in the end, the property had been listed for 985k and sold for 272, with nine offers! All developers. So, if a bunch of experience folks are bidding then yes, I think the market will be rational, but in this type of market I don’t believe it will behave quite rationally. I’m going to guess this will sell in the 6-800k range.

    • Posted by BayviewSF

      How much does it cost to remove the hoarder stuff? a few thousand dollars? It is irrational that a 985k house was sold at 272k in Potrero, ever a few years ago.

      • Posted by anon

        Um, it’s irrational that a 272k house was listed for 985k. If nine people bid, it’s much more likely that the price was set irrationally high, not that somehow a bunch of bidders bid the price down to irrational lows.

        • Posted by BayviewSF

          Even the lot under the house is worth 400k. Do you think the house is a negative value?

          Maybe they have rent controlled tenants. Rent controlled tenants is a negative value.

          • Posted by anon

            The house could absolutely be a negative value, for any number of reasons (rent control, potential historical landmark status, contamination that would make a teardown expensive, etc).

      • Posted by SFrentier

        Betcha 272 is a typo. Maybe 972?

  30. Posted by mikey woodz

    this house will go over 1.3m easy, its almost to Lake Street, its got a nice facade and a lot almost 3k sq ft, they’ll keep the facade and reframe the rest of house (probably do a 311) and it’ll sell for over 3m

  31. Posted by minka

    I have a hoarder neighbor, the adult child of a parent who passed on over 20 years ago. His yard is a catastrophe, I call it the neighborhood nature preserve. He tosses old furniture and food cartons in the back but the bushes and trees cover up the mess. Sometimes I hear him cough and I wonder if he sleeps on the porch due to bad smells or bad air in the house (which stinks to the street). So all this to ask. is there some city agency that helps with this? I think the person may need help.

    • Posted by Amewsed

      I googled…Mental Health Association of San Francisco. 870 Market St, Suite 928, 415.421.2926. They work with the Dept. of Aging and Adult Services to specifically deals with hoarders. Caveat: hoarders will easily relapse even after getting “help.”

    • Posted by rm

      Call adult protective services and say you believe there is a self-neglect/hoarding situation going on at the address. You can also call the health department. The Health Department has the right to do something about the hoarding because it can be a fire/health hazard for the neighborhood.

  32. Posted by Linda Smith

    Could someone please try to find out what can be done for the dog? It’s an innocent victim here. I live in KY, but would be willing to assist in some way. Phone calls, transport to a foster home, anything to transition this needy canine to a better life.

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