"Squatters" occupy filthy and structurally unsound SB home

Three weeks ago, officials stumbled upon a South Bend home that was both filthy and structurally unsound.

Today it was revealed that the home is still occupied.

“He’s living there illegally,” said the home’s co-owner, Joseph Zsodeny. “I called him a squatter. He is a squatter.”

On March 19th, firefighters responded to a medical call at the home at 440 S. Kaley and immediately summoned code enforcement.

“The floors were sagging in the first and second floors, there’s no stairs to the basement. We’re not really sure the extent of the damage to the house, just the parts we were in, we estimate to be about $30,000 for repairs, said Interim South Bend Code Enforcement Director Randy
Wilkerson.

Officials found animal feces scattered about the place and it appeared that humans were using the bathtub as a toilet.

In the past three weeks, at least two people moved out of the home: co-owner Ken Graham and his wife. “I don’t like my house like that. I never have my house like that. I tried to help people out. What did people do to me? Stab me in the back. I learned my lesson. I apologize. That’s all I’ll say,” said Ken Graham.

Graham says three people are still living in the house and that they are refusing to leave.

“We have a vacate and seal (order) on the property which means we’re telling them they have to move out. Unfortunately, we cannot make them move out. The owner is responsible for doing eviction, to get him out of the home,” said Randy Wilkerson.

Joseph Zsodeny said he turned off the utilities to try and force an eviction, and that “for ordinary people, that’s enough.” Zsodeny was today told to head directly to small claims court to go through the formal eviction process.

The home’s co-owners, Zsodeny and Graham, appeared at a Code Enforcement hearing today during which a demolition order was issued on the property. Both agreed that the home is in need of demolition.