California Health & Safety Receiverships: Collaboration with Guardian Ad Litems

Health and Safety Receivership actions often deal with homeowners who are packrats/hoarders, elderly, or mentally/physically disabled. These types of homeowners may not be able to properly maintain and care for their house, which leads to loss of control of the property and the commencing of a receivership action. A Court-Appointed Health and Safety Receiver is temporarily appointed by the court to address the health and safety concerns of substandard properties that have been neglected by property owners. A Health and Safety Receivership can successfully rehabilitate distressed properties when the homeowner is unwilling or unable to remedy code violations themselves.

Court-Appointed Receivers are neutral third parties appointed to carry out the orders of the court. Receivers are not employed by the Plaintiff or Defendant, but instead answer to the court under the appointment order. Receivers may face challenges when dealing with packrats/hoarders, elderly, or mentally/physically disabled homeowners. In special cases, a homeowner may need additional assistance, beyond legal counsel, to fulfill the court’s orders because they are incapable of complying on their own due to physical or psychological limitations. In these cases, a court may decide to appoint a Guardian Ad Litem to aid the homeowner in managing their own affairs. The scope of the appointment of a Guardian Ad Litem may deem the guardian to act as the legal protector of the homeowner’s financial or personal assets in order to serve the best interests of homeowner. Teamwork is crucial to bring the property into compliance and guide the homeowner to the social services they may need. This involves collaboration and coordination from code enforcement, the city, the receiver, the homeowner, the guardian, and the court to prevent further health and safety violations and property deterioration.

Richardson “Red” Griswold is appointed by courts across California to act as a Health & Safety Code Receiver for troubled properties and works closely with guardians as needed. For more information, please contact Griswold Law.

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