How Does a Receiver Relocate an Occupant?

Distressed properties can be dangerous and unhealthy for multiple parties: the occupant, the owner, and the whole community. 


Often, when a court-appointed receiver takes over management of a distressed or substandard property, there are occupants living there. The occupants or tenants aren’t necessarily to blame for the condition of the home, especially if the problems have been developing for years due to a neglectful or absent property owner. 


What are the responsibilities of a health and safety receiver when it comes to keeping these tenants or occupants safe and successfully rehabilitating the home?


1. A Receiver Understands Legal Implications of a Receivership

California’s legal system has anticipated this problem and provided guidance for what receivers can and can’t do when it comes to relocating tenants who live in a distressed property. 


Health and Safety Code section 17980.7 addresses a receiver’s ability to provide temporary tenant relocation assistance under certain circumstances. Subsections (c)(6) and (d) authorize a health and safety receiver to provide relocation assistance funds to the tenants or occupants if the rehabilitation process renders the property unsafe for occupancy. 


2. The Receiver Will Determine Whether or Not the Property is Unsafe for Occupancy

In some cases, occupants can stay on the property while the receiver does the work. However, health and safety receivers are generally only appointed when there is a serious need for major rehabilitation projects. These can include addressing foundational concerns, major building repairs, mold remediation, hoarding clean-up, and more. 


Unsafe conditions may include excessive dirt and filth, improper construction, poor maintenance of the property, animal or human waste, pest infestations, non-functioning utilities, and broken appliances. If there are crews working on the property, that may also create a safety risk for occupants. 


3. Receivers Communicate with Occupants About the Relocation

It is important to communicate clearly and effectively with anyone who needs to be moved while the receiver works. The receiver must make sure the occupants know that the move is temporary; once the property is rehabilitated, they can move back in.


The receiver’s goal is to help the occupants understand what will happen to any of their possessions, the project timeline, and the importance of the relocation during the renovation and rehabilitation process. 


4. Relocation Is a Strategy for Occupants Who Are Interfering With Rehabilitation Work

The court can authorize a health and safety receiver to relocate people who are causing disruptions during the rehabilitation project. If a property occupant consistently interferes with the attempts to fix the problems with the building, such occupant can be temporarily relocated until the task is completed.


What Else Do You Need to Know About Relocation?

Temporary relocation can be a stressful experience for occupants, especially if they didn’t cause the problems in the first place. A receiver should be patient and professional in their interactions with people who may feel like they have lost control of their housing circumstances. 

Understanding Relocation Options

Receivers have some options when it comes to relocating occupants or tenants. One option is to provide them with relocation assistance funds, which they can use to pay for a short-term lease or stay in a hotel. However, receivers can also pay a landlord or tenant directly.


Hotels, apartments, rental homes, and long-term rentals are all reasonable solutions. Families should be relocated within their current school district, and tenants should not be moved far away from where they currently reside and work. 

Do You Need a Court Appointed Receiver to Get Involved at a Property?

Court-appointed receivers don’t generally pick and choose where they work. They are appointed by a judge to remedy a problem that comes before the courts. The focus of a health and safety receivership is to take control of abandoned and distressed properties and turn them back into safe properties for the occupants and the community. 


If you are concerned about a property in your community, Richardson “Red” Griswold and his team may be able to help! Griswold Law has been appointed over 120 times by the California court system in 15 different counties.

In addition to being appointed as a health and safety receiver, the firm also serves in the role of partition referee, tenant habitability receiver, post-judgment receiver, and rents/profits receiver. The team has extensive experience taking control of troubled real estate assets. That includes houses, apartments, motels, and failed developments, facing conditions such as hoarding, drug activity, absent or neglectful landlords, illegal conversions, and abandoned properties. 


If you have questions or want to learn more about the receivership remedy and how it can help your community eliminate blighted and distressed properties, reach out to Griswold Law today!

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