What are the Duties of a Health and Safety Receiver in California?

California Health and Safety Code § 17980.7(c) permits a judge to appoint a health and safety receiver in circumstances that warrant it. Specifically, the health and safety receivership remedy allows a receiver to take over real property that has become unsafe or hazardous due to abandonment, code violations, hoarding, illegal conversions, etc.

health safety receivership

Health and safety receivers play an important role in making our communities safer. Their responsibilities can vary from appointment to appointment. Still, their main focus remains the same: serve as a neutral third party to remedy unsafe properties using the means and methods aligned with the court’s receivership appointment order. 

What is the Role of a Health and Safety Receiver?

Health and safety receivers are appointed by a judge after the petitioning party makes its formal request in court. Petitioning parties are typically municipalities (cities or counties) or tenant associations.

Once appointed, the receiver has legal power to address health and safety violations at the property. The court maintains oversight over its receiver. Throughout the receivership, the receiver typically has the authority to manage the property, borrow funds secured against the subject property, hire inspectors and contractors, and remediate or even demolish the property. 

Because the receiver is there to carry out the orders of the court, the receiver does not side with any particular party. However, a receiver can consider each party’s input and requests when making decisions. 

By the time the receiver’s duties are complete, the property should be safe for occupants and the neighborhood. 

What are Some Health and Safety Receivership Duties?

Not all receiverships are the same. Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons someone might need a receiver and what kind of receiver best suits their needs.

These are some of the most common duties and responsibilities of a health and safety receiver in California: 

  • Inspect the property and identify any building code violations, safety hazards, or health risks
  • Create a scope of the necessary work and gather cost estimates for repairs necessary to fix violations
  • Obtain court approval for proposed repair plans and associated budgets
  • Borrow funds secured against the subject property
  • Oversee the repair work
  • Ensure that all completed work meets the relevant building codes and regulations
  • Collect rents and other income related to the property
  • Establish new rental agreements with tenants
  • Pay taxes, insurance, utilities, and other costs for the duration of the receivership
  • File regular accounting updates with the court
  • Communicate repair plans and status updates to stakeholders such as owners, creditors, occupants, and agencies
  • Return control of the property to the owner once the court approves all fulfilled duties 
  • Under some circumstances, list and sell the property in a court-ordered sale

What is the Time Frame for a Receivership?

It takes time to go through each step, as everything must be completed according to the strict standards of the California courts. An experienced health and safety receiver will know how to expedite the process as much as possible, but it is important to know that there are no shortcuts when addressing health and safety issues at a struggling property.

 health and safety receivership duties


The timeline for a health and safety receivership can be summarized as follows: 

  • After the petitioning party requests an appointment, a judge decides to appoint a health and safety receiver
  • The receiver takes control
  • In the first weeks after the receiver takes control, occupants are relocated or vacated from the property
  • For the next several months, usually up to about 6 months, the property is rehabilitated under the supervision of the receiver
  • Around the 6 month mark, the property is listed for sale, or the occupant reoccupies the property; the time it takes to sell the property is dependent upon the market at the time

When Should a Community Request a Health & Safety Receiver?

It would be appropriate for a petitioning party to seek a health and safety receiver if a property faces any of the following circumstances: 

  • Abandonment
  • Severe hoarding
  • Accumulation of junk outside or inside the home
  • Hazardous materials stored improperly at the property
  • Public safety threats like asbestos, mold, fire damage, fire risk, pest infestations, etc
  • Uncontrolled crime
  • Unstable property due to hillside instability, foundation issues
  • Structural failure
  • Code violations
  • Illegal conversions
  • Squatting 

Health & Safety Receivers: A Solution for Unsafe Properties in California’s Communities 

Health and safety receivers are a powerful tool that communities can use to address problem properties that have become a threat to public health, safety, and welfare. 

An experienced receiver can mitigate hazards, oversee the repairs, and work with stakeholders to reach court-approved solutions. 

The receivership remedy aims to balance the rights of owners with the greater good of the community. When other methods fail to resolve severe property distress, receivers can responsibly rehabilitate a property, upholding codes and preventing further harm to the property’s tenants, neighbors, and the broader community. 

Griswold Law–Experienced Receivers 

Richardson “Red” Griswold has been appointed by courts over 190 times. He and his team at Griswold Law are knowledgeable, experienced, and thorough receivers who can address your concerns and make your community safer. To learn more, download our free whitepaper on Receivership for Abandoned Properties.


Download the Whitepaper


Please reach out to us with any questions about how the receivership remedy works. 

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