Health & Safety Receivership: A Powerful Tool in Today's Real Estate Market

Receiverships are commonly initiated in courts across California.  Under a receivership, the receiver undertakes custodial responsibility over another’s property, assets and rights.  The extent of the receiver’s duties and powers are stated in the appointment documents, be it a court order, a statute or private agreement.

A Health & Safety Receivership is an immediate and systematic process that seeks to eliminate slum housing and/or habitually substandard properties at no expense to the referring agency/prevailing party (i.e. city governments, code enforcement agencies).  Receiverships are a mechanism that visibly communicate to the neighbors and surrounding communities that the agency is taking positive steps to clean up residential neighborhoods and protecting tenants who have been subjected to dangerous and unhealthy conditions by absentee or recalcitrant property owners.

Unlike the traditional concept of financial receiverships, a Health & Safety Receivership is a legal process through which title to a piece of real property is temporarily taken from the owner and placed with a court-appointed officer--the receiver.  Authorized pursuant to California Health & Safety Code section 17980 et seq., receiverships are used primarily for abandoned and substandard properties where the owner has a history of non-compliance with local enforcement agency orders to abate or where emergency circumstances are discovered which pose immediate threats to health and safety.

Health & Safety Receiverships are implemented most effectively under three scenarios:

1.  Owners and/or occupants refuse to comply with local enforcement agency's orders to abate substandard conditions;

2.  Owners and/or occupants are unable to comply with local enforcement agency's orders to abate substandard conditions due to financial, physical or psychological limitations;

3.  Owners and/or occupants of substandard property cannot be located.

The receiver, under the authority and supervision of the California Superior Court, borrows against the subject property (using the property's equity) and utilizes those funds to pay for emergency owner/occupant relocation, property rehabilitation, demolition or other work as authorized by the Court in order to bring the property into compliance with local and state regulations.

Griswold Law works with California Receivership Group, LLC ( on many Southern California Health & Safety Receiverships. If you are a city agency and would like more information on the receivership remedy and its effectiveness, please contact Griswold Law at (858) 481-1300 or California Receivership Group, LLC at (310) 471-8181.

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