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Silver & Wright Llp Helps Another City Remediate a Blighted Drug House Without Litigation

Dec 19, 2022

For years, a residential property on Albyn Court in Newark, California tormented the neighborhood as a dilapidated drug house. The property was an “orphan” property in which the owner had died, and the heirs were not taking responsibility for it. These scenarios often lead to the property being used for nefarious purposes.

Following neighbor complaints and several police responses to the property, the City inspected and confirmed over 85 substandard conditions and violations of State and City laws on the property.

Inside, the living conditions were horrendous, featuring violations including electrical, fire and structure hazards, unpermitted construction, unsanitary living conditions, and excessive amounts of trash, junk, and debris, among others.

"Before"Images of the Property

Outside and visible to the neighborhood, the nuisance property had overgrown vegetation and a junked vehicle.

Surprisingly, the property was occupied in these extreme conditions and was a repeated source of unlawful drug and other nuisance activities, resulting in a large volume of calls for service to law enforcement, which had to place additional patrols around the neighborhood to protect the neighbors. This cost the City and its taxpayers more funds and vital public safety resources.

Although none of the heirs or the tenants complied with notices issued by the City, Silver & Wright LLP was able to get the attention of an heir and her lawyer, and brokered a compliance agreement and plan between them and the City to establish reasonable timeframes for the heir to remove the crime-causing tenants and fix up the property to code compliance.  The heir ultimately chose to sell the property, and the new buyers completed the remediation.  The City also obtained cost recovery, which in these types of cases is authorized under State law.  And all of this was accomplished without the cost to the City or taxpayers involved in litigation.

“Our duty is to help cities protect their communities by gaining compliance with the law when the city has already tried, but been unable to gain voluntary compliance. However, our goal is to accomplish this without litigation wherever possible. It’s not always possible, but we’re uniquely successful at it. This saves the city and its taxpayers money and time that can be used on other city needs instead of lawyers. The goal is always compliance, not litigation, even if that means taking a little more time to obtain compliance.”
CITY OF NEWARK COMMUNITY PRESERVATION STEVE WILLKOMM 

The City finally obtained compliance with a long-standing problem property, reduced crime in the community, and restored peace to the neighborhood – by all measures, a great outcome.

“Silver & Wright LLP came in and led the effort to negotiate an agreement to rehabilitate the property. The rehabilitation – after years of non-compliance – was completed better than expected and earlier than expected. And all cheaper than expected since the City avoided litigation, which is the remedy the law actually provides. A good result.”
CITY OF NEWARK COMMUNITY PRESERVATION STEVE WILLKOMM 

Since the sale and remediation of the property, the Albyn Court neighborhood has been peaceful and public safety calls for service to the property have stopped.

ABOUT SILVER & WRIGHT, LLP.

Located in Irvine, California, Silver & Wright is a leading law firm specializing in municipal law, code enforcement matters, nuisance abatement, police services, and receivership. Visit SilverWrightLaw.com for further information.