Receiverships offer an effective remedy for substandard properties where the owner has a history of noncompliance with orders to abate, or there are emergency circumstances that pose an immediate threat to health and safety. It also allows the agency to seek approval for cost recovery from the judge to reimburse communities and their taxpayers. Receiverships are an effective remedy which communicates to neighbors and surrounding communities that the city/county/agency is taking concrete steps to remedy the problem property they have lived next door to or even in, and will remedy the dangerous conditions created by absentee or recalcitrant owners. In a receivership, the Judge appoints a neutral third party to bring the substandard property into compliance. This is particularly important in California, where there is a crisis with substandard and inhumane housing conditions for many people.
Unlike the traditional concept of a financial receivership, a Health and Safety Receiver is not appointed to operate a property for a period of time, or to wind-down operations. Rather, the Court Receiver is appointed to remedy the health and safety and other law violations on a property. Often, this process involves the Court Receiver hiring a contractor to correct the violations, or it could begin with relocating tenants of the substandard building so they live in habitable and safe housing. The Court Receiver obtains approval from the Judge to carry out his duties.
Authorized pursuant to California Health and Safety Code Sections 17980 et seq., receiverships are usually used for abandoned and/or otherwise substandard properties where the owner has a history of non-compliance with local enforcement agency orders to abate, or when a property’s conditions pose a serious threat to its residents or the public at large.
Health and Safety Receiverships can be very helpful in these scenarios, among others:
1. Substandard or slum properties;
2. Owners and/or occupants refuse to comply with local enforcement agencies’ orders to abate substandard conditions;
3. Owners and/or occupants refuse to comply with local enforcement agencies’ orders to abate substandard conditions due to physical or psychological limitations;
4. Abandoned/orphan properties and where owners of substandard property cannot be located.
The Court Receiver, under the authority and supervision of a Superior Court Judge, borrows against the substandard property itself, and uses those funds to pay for emergency owner/occupant relocation, property rehabilitation, demolition or other work as authorized by the Judge in order to bring the property into compliance with local and state regulations, thereby, protecting the community and improving the lives of the residents and neighbors.
The video below shows how health and safety receiverships help communities turn around dangerous blighted properties to become a contributor to the community, not a drain on them.