5 Signs a Nuisance Property is Appropriate for Receivership

8 (2)A nuisance property is a problem for neighborhoods, including both the closest neighbors and the community as a whole.When a property is unsafe, community risk goes up and property values go down. What are your options when you see a property that is abandoned, unsafe, or home to illegal activity? 

One solution is the receivership remedy. The receivership remedy is a legal solution to a number of complicated real estate problems. When it is implemented, a judge appoints a third-party individual to oversee the remediation, rehabilitation, or even demolition of a disputed or nuisance property. 

What is a Nuisance Property?

A piece of real estate may be categorized as a nuisance property if the property owner “engages in an activity that significantly interferes with the use of or enjoyment of another’s property, or that affects the health, safety, welfare, or comfort of the public at large.” 

This may include single-family homes, multi-family homes, condominiums, retail businesses, commercial businesses, and even empty lots. 

If the owner is negligent in maintaining a property according to the municipal code, the property may be identified as a nuisance. Many different things can lead to a property being considered a nuisance, including:

  • Criminal behavior
  • Excessive noise
  • Offensive smell
  • Health and safety hazards

Essentially, if the property disturbs the life of someone living nearby, it may be a nuisance property, and it may be time for the municipality to look into filing a lawsuit with the receivership remedy in mind. 

Here are 5 situations that may call for a receiver to be appointed. 

1. The property is vacant or abandoned. 

An abandoned property is not the same as an empty property. An empty, unoccupied property may still be maintained by the property owner or management company. When there is no one to maintain the premises, then you have an abandonment issue. 

Abandoned properties increase the risk of fire, stray animals and rodents, criminal activity, and police presence in a neighborhood. 

2. There is a danger to the health of occupants and neighbors.

A property doesn’t need to be abandoned to be a risk. 

For example, hoarding and drug activity are just two things that could cause issues for neighbors and occupants alike.

Illegal drug activity harms the occupants who are using and any children or dependents in the home. It also hurts neighbors' health, due to exposure to unsafe substances and accidental overdoses. 

Hoarding creates unsafe conditions for people in and around the house, due to increased rodent and pest activity and mold growth, among other issues. 

3. There is a danger to the safety of occupants and neighbors. 

Some risks are specific to physical safety instead of health. 

For example, a nuisance property may be a fire risk. Depending on the neighborhood, how close the properties are to one another, and what the weather conditions are like on a specific day, a fire in one home is a huge risk to fires in the surrounding area.

Even if a fire does not spread from one property to another, the smoke and ash can harm neighbors and their properties. 

Nuisance properties are also more likely to experience water damage because there is often no one responsible for maintaining plumbing and sewage lines. 

4. There is a history of police activity.

If a piece of residential, retail, or commercial real estate is the site of regular police activity, the receivership remedy may help to relocate unsafe tenants, remove unauthorized trespassers, and implement security measures.

Activity at a property leading to routine police activity creates feelings of insecurity, decreased property values, and safety risks. 

5. There is a history of non-compliance or no responsible party. 

Code non-compliance, especially related to the lack of a responsible party at the property, relates to many of these issues. In fact, it is often the source of the other problems on this list. 

If there is no one there to maintain the property, it can quickly become a health and safety nuisance. If the person responsible for the home or building is not willing or capable of maintaining compliance with all of the municipal codes, it may be time for the courts to appoint a receiver who can and will. 

How to Address a Nuisance Property In Your Community

Richardson “Red” Griswold has been appointed as a receiver more than 150 times by the California court system. 

Concerned citizens can learn more about the receivership remedy in response to abandoned properties by downloading Griswold Law’s whitepaper: “Abandoned Property Receivership.”

Download the Whitepaper

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