California Health & Safety Receiverships: Teamwork with Law Enforcement/Fire Departments

Health and Safety Receiverships come in many shapes and sizes. Health and Safety Receiverships are implemented for distressed properties which include packrat/hoarding properties, substandard motels or apartments, fire damaged properties, illegal construction or habitation, drug/slum houses, and deceased owner or abandoned properties. Properties subject to Health and Safety Receiverships are often referred to the City by local fire departments or law enforcement who are routinely called to these properties.  A Health and Safety Receiver can be appointed by the Court to remedy health and safety hazards of substandard properties which have been neglected by property owners. A Court-Appointed Health and Safety Receiver will determine the proper course of action on a case by case (property by property) basis and will follow established policies, procedures and guidelines for each specific property or situation. A Receiver is responsible for general repairs and maintenance for the property and for ensuring that the property is brought into compliance with State and local laws.

By appointing a Receiver, the Court can prevent unsafe or illegal activity occurring at the property. A Court-Appointed Health and Safety Receiver works closely with local fire departments and law enforcement to ensure the property is safe and free from crime and fire dangers. Law enforcement may be utilized for drug/slum properties when the Receiver needs assistance removing illegal trespassers or when trying to locate an absent homeowner. Fire departments may be utilized when a property has preexisting fire damage or its conditions pose substantial fire risk. A Receiver is tasked with guaranteeing that the minimum standards for human habitation are met, which covers a broad range of requirements from heating, water service, plumbing, ventilation, electricity, storage of garbage and rubbish, and the list goes on. This includes the elimination of excessive trash, debris, storage, and overgrown vegetation so that law enforcement, fire, and medical aid services can safety enter the property should there be an emergency.

Health and Safety Receiverships protect the health, safety and welfare of property occupants and the community while also preventing blight in neighborhoods. Richardson “Red” Griswold is appointed by courts across California to act as a Health & Safety Code Receiver for substandard properties and connects with police and fire departments to ensure the safety of the neighborhood. For more information, please contact Griswold Law at (858) 481-1300 or

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