How to Secure a Receiver for a Nuisance Property in CA

Post-Judgment Receiverships


Nuisance properties are a problem across all communities–decreasing property values, increasing crime rates, and posing a risk to the health and safety of property occupants and others in the neighborhood. 


In some situations, such as a property that has accumulated numerous unresolved code violations or a property that has become condemned for health or safety reasons, community stakeholders may need to step in to address the problem. One of the resources available to these stakeholders in California is the receivership remedy for nuisance properties.

What are Examples of Nuisance Properties?

Nuisance properties encompass a wide range of issues and conditions that can adversely affect neighborhoods, communities, and the well-being of residents. Some examples of nuisance properties include:

  • Vacant or Abandoned Buildings
  • Dilapidated Structures
  • Illegal Dumping Sites
  • Properties with Unsanitary Conditions
  • Illegal/Nuisance Businesses
  • Vacant Lots
  • Hoarding Properties

What is a Receiver?

A receiver is a neutral third-party individual, often a lawyer, appointed by a court to take control of assets, business affairs, and/or real property and manage it in a way that fulfills the court’s orders. 

The Job Duties of a Court-Appointed Receiver

A receiver’s duties are defined by the parameters of the court order, but they typically include: 

  • Take possession and control of the property
  • Management and operation of any business affairs 
  • Financial management
  • Maintenance and repairs
  • Leasing and rent collection
  • Reporting to the court
  • Compliance with laws and regulations
  • Sale of assets
  • Distribution of funds
  • Remediation or demolition of a property

When appointed, a receiver carries out the orders of the judge. This benefits the community because the receiver can address and fix unsafe conditions at the property, thus reducing the risk of negative risks for the community as a whole. 


Who Can Seek the Appointment of a Receiver? 

A person or entity can’t simply hire a receiver to take over a property. Rather, the process involves getting a court order. 

The parties who can propose a receiver include: 

  • Local governments or municipalities: City and county authorities can often address nuisance properties by filing a lawsuit designed to protect public safety, health, and welfare.
  • Neighbors: If someone lives close to a nuisance property, they may have standing to bring legal action, especially if the property poses a health or safety risk to their household.
  • Homeowners Associations: If the property is part of an HOA, the HOA may have the authority to file a lawsuit on behalf of its members to address issues of blight, abandonment, code violations, etc. 
  • Environmental agencies: In some circumstances, nuisance properties may pose an environmental risk or violate state environmental protection laws. 
  • Lenders or mortgage holders: When a nuisance property is in foreclosure or is struggling financially, lenders or mortgage holders may be able to seek a court-appointed receiver to protect their interests and maintain the property’s value. 
  • Individuals with legal interest: Any individual who can demonstrate that they have a legal interest in the property, such as someone who holds an easement or a legal claim on the property, may be able to bring a lawsuit that seeks a court-appointed receiver. 

Step-by-Step Process to Securing a Receiver for a Nuisance Property

What is required to have a receiver appointed over a property of concern? 

The process may vary from one situation to the next, but there is a typical timeline that most receiverships follow. 

1. Seek legal advice from an experienced receivership attorney

The first step is seeking legal advice. An experienced receivership attorney should know the ins and outs of California’s legal system, including when a receiver can be appointed. They will also be able to explain how likely it is that a judge would side with the plaintiff and appoint a receiver. 

Even if a receivership is not an option, an attorney should be able to provide you with guidance on other alternatives to address the nuisance property.

2. Determine the need for a receiver

When filing a lawsuit, you will need to prove that the appointment of a receiver is appropriate. It is essential that the subject issues are documented at the property and identified as to why those issues pose a health and safety risk. It is recommended to demonstrate that alternative methods of resolution have failed. Finally, you will also need to prove that you have legal grounds to bring this claim against the property owner. 

3. Petition the court

When your case is prepared, an action must be filed with the appropriate court, outlining the justifications for the receivership, the specific powers and duties you want the receiver to have, and details about the subject property. 

4. Notice to all interested parties 

In general, all interested parties with a stake in the property (i.e. owner(s), lender(s), and other relevant stakeholders) will need to be given proper notice under the law. 

5. Attend a court hearing

There will likely be a court hearing where your case for appointing a receiver will be presented and possibly opposed. 

6. Nominate a receiver

Typically, you have the opportunity to nominate a specific receiver to the court. It is important to nominate a receiver who is experienced, knowledgeable, professional and cost-efficient. 

What comes next? 

These step-by-step instructions only take you to the point where the receivership begins. After the appointment is ordered and the scope of the receivership is determined, it will be time for the court-appointed receiver to get started. 

The receiver will routinely update the court regarding its steps and progress toward addressing the nuisance property. Some tasks or recommendations of the receiver may require additional court approval, such as borrowing funds to pay for the rehabilitation or potentially selling the property to a qualified buyer. 


Griswold Law Serves California’s Communities as a Court-Appointed Receiver

Tackling the challenges posed by nuisance properties may seem overwhelming, but the receivership remedy is a powerful tool to protect your community, enhance public safety, and preserve property values in your neighborhood.

At Griswold Law, we understand the complexities of the receivership process, and we are committed to guiding you through each step. Richardson “Red” Griswold and his team have been appointed over 200 times by California courts, and the purpose of the majority of those appointments has been to address nuisance properties. 

Whether you are a concerned neighbor, a government entity, or a representative from an HOA, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our experienced team of receivership professionals. We can provide the legal expertise needed to assess your unique situation, explore the viability of a receivership, and pursue the necessary legal actions to resolve this problem in your community. 

To learn more, download our free whitepaper
on abandoned property receiverships. 

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