What is a Health and Safety Receivership?

A Health and Safety Receivership is an effective legal remedy under California law that facilitates the reestablishment of substandard properties, which include properties that show problems of hoarding, drug/slum activity, fire or water damage, unpermitted construction or habitation, or properties that have been abandoned. There are many substandard properties across California that are clearly neglected and/or vacant with no useful purpose. These properties are an eyesore to the public and can be a danger to the health, safety and welfare of the surrounding community. Health and Safety Receiverships can reduce the number of substandard properties and demonstrates to the community that the city or county is taking steps to rehabilitate problem properties.

Substandard properties have the potential to boost neighborhood criminal activity, create public nuisances and contribute to overall neighborhood decline. To boot, these properties often require costly code and police enforcement. A hoarding property, for instance, might bring an influx of vermin and rodents to the neighborhood. The hoarding conditions may even extend outside of the property covering the entire exterior resulting in disgruntled neighbors. On the other hand, vacant properties are often used as drug houses or illicit dumping grounds. By utilizing the receivership remedy, the Court can eliminate and even prevent potential illegal or unsafe activity these types of properties invite. ‘How?’ you might ask. The court appoints a neutral third-party receiver to take temporary control over the substandard property to rehabilitate it, resolve any health and safety hazards, and correct code violations that led to the receivership litigation. A Receiver not only facilitates the improvements on these properties, but can connect home owners to mental health treatment providers or other social services as desired. In the case of an abandoned property, a Receiver can secure the property by boarding windows and doors, and if necessary, installing fencing and/or hiring security to keep intruders out and motivate safer and more sustainable neighborhoods. Overall, Health and Safety Receiverships offer opportunities for success with newly rehabilitated properties serving a useful purpose and can promote healthy and vibrant neighborhoods.

Richardson “Red” Griswold is regularly appointed by California courts to act as a Health & Safety Code Receiver for substandard properties leaving him with extensive experience in substandard property rehabilitation. For more information, please contact Griswold Law, APC at (858) 481-1300 or

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