When is Demolition the Right Choice?

Abandoned and blighted properties are a difficult reality for countless communities. If these problem properties are not dealt with quickly, they can become a perfect environment for criminal behavior, health risks, nuisance animals and pests, and fire. 


Demolition may be the right choice for some of these properties. How can you know if a building should be rehabilitated or demolished? Let’s break down the main reasons to pursue a demolition order against an abandoned property in your community. 

Rehabilitation May Not Be Possible

Is the building salvageable in the first place? As a court-appointed receiver, Griswold Law Receiverships works with qualified inspectors to look at our properties to assess the damage and to see if it can be saved from demolition. 


Often, just looking at the building is not enough. A building that looks completely dilapidated may have great potential for rehabilitation because the foundation, plumbing, and roof are in good shape.  Meanwhile, a building that looks okay from the outside may have such significant structural problems that it is simply not able to be saved. 

Rehabilitation May Be Too Expensive

Sometimes rehabbing an abandoned or distressed property may be physically possible, but financially unwise. 


A thorough economic analysis of the property should include the value of the location, the value of the rehabilitated property, and the cost of a total rehabilitation. 


There are Significant Environmental Risks


Due to the age of properties and because abandoned properties are often closed up for extended periods of time or left open and exposed to the elements, it's not uncommon for environmental issues to develop such as mold. Most of the time, these issues can be remedied efficiently with the efforts of a restoration company, but not in every case. 


Lead and asbestos are additional environmental risks that require consideration when assessing a property. Older buildings that were built before modern environmental regulation often included lead paint and building materials with asbestos. A thorough environmental analysis will help determine if the property can be saved and what it will cost. 

After Demolition 


Demolition is an excellent tool to eliminate blighted properties and make communities safer. However, there are still issues to address after the demo has occurred. 


Will you leave the property vacant or build something new? Many community members recognize that a vacant lot is only nominally safer than an abandoned property, which means that it can be a good strategy to quickly facilitate the sale or lease of the property. 


In fact, demolition alone has been shown to have no real influence on reducing crime in a neighborhood. 


Yes, demolition is a great tool, but it's only one piece of the overall puzzle for addressing abandoned properties. If you leave vacant lots throughout your community, you are still welcoming some of the same problems that abandoned buildings bring: health and safety risks, opportunities for crime, vagrancy, and unkempt eyesores. 

Receivership Can Help

If the property is in receivership, the receiver can do more than just facilitate the demolition. A court-appointed receiver can also assess the potential for selling the property, manage the sale, and monitor the new owner's development of the land.


Cities should consider incentivizing local development of empty lots for affordable housing. Bringing in a receiver to take over abandoned properties can speed up the process from recognizing the threat to replacing it with a thriving new home or retail business. 

Do you need help addressing an abandoned property in California? 


Griswold Law Receiverships has served as a receiver over 120 times in 15 different California counties to help address blighted and abandoned properties. To learn more about how the receivership remedy may solve your neighborhood's needs, contact Griswold Law Receiverships today

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