Abandoned Santa Clarita Valley mobile home park becomes magnet for squatters

Perhaps once, Soledad Trailer Lodge was a nice place to call home. Look past the broken windows and piles of trash and you'll see signs that couples and families may have happily lived here once.

In one trailer, there's a dining table ready for a family meal, in another a shower curtain hangs in the bathroom, in the yards, there are a deflated basketball and children's toys. It seems like people were told to move out quickly.

"There's canned food inside, clothing, personal items. It looks people were forced to move out at a moment's notice," Lonnie Bernal told us.

Bernal sees the abandoned trailers and says he would like to buy one or haul one away to give a homeless man an opportunity to refurbish and then live in.

For Dennis Marazzito, the day when someone comes to take all the trailers away can't come soon enough. He owns a bar next door to the park and he says the abandoned trailers attract the most unsavory of elements.

"They should really clean it up so that people aren't squatting in there. A lot of drugs and stuff there. Definitely not something I want next to my business," said Marazzito.

Despite how well known the issues are at Soledad Trailer Lodge, the city of Santa Clarita says there's not much they can do. Mobile home parks in California are controlled by the state's Department of Housing and Community Development.

Erin Lay with the Santa Clarita's Community Development said, "We are very concerned...Certainly, we don't want these kinds of situation to arise, but we don't have the power to do much about it. We have been in contact with HCD and we have filed a complaint to them.

Fox 11's calls to HCD went unanswered but in the Santa Clarita Signal publication, Alicia Murrillo is quoted as saying, "We have issued a notice of intent to suspend the permit to operate for nonpayment of annual fees. If we do not receive a response to the notice of intent, we will suspend the permit to operate."

There are rumors that the property was sold which could explain the quick exodus of the trailers' residents.

"The city hasn't had contact with the park's owner that it has changed hands. HCD, in our contact with them, hasn't told us that it's changed hands either," Lay said.

Efforts to find and contact the park's owner to confirm the park has been sold were unsuccessful. But Dennis Marazzito hopes another rumor is true -- that the park is scheduled to razed in the next couple of weeks.