HEALTH AND SAFETY RECEIVERSHIPS: THE COST NEUTRAL WAY TO ABATE DIFFICULT NUISANCE PROPERTIES
Written by Ryan Griffith
Ryan is an Executive Committee member of the Public Law Section. He began his practice at the Vallejo City Attorney’s Office and created its Neighborhood Law Program and Vallejo’s Health and Safety Receivership Program, which resolved issues with longstanding nuisance properties. The receivership program recovered hundreds of thousands of dollars for the City. Within his first year of practice, the Solano County Bar Association recognized Ryan’s efforts and named him the Solano County Bar Association Young Lawyer of the Year in 2013. Since his time in Vallejo, Ryan has worked for several litigation firms that specialize in municipal code enforcement litigation. In 2017, Ryan joined Bay Area Receivership Group as its lead attorney. Ryan has worked over 100 receivership cases, written various articles, and provided MCLE webinars on the topic.*
WHAT ARE COMMON CODE ENFORCEMENT PROCEDURES?
Almost every city and county in California has a code enforcement department ("Code Enforcement"). Code Enforcement ensures building and fire code violations are abated.1 Typical issues Code Enforcement addresses include overgrown grass, illegal dumping, buildings with dry rot, deteriorated fencing, and other nuisances, which could negatively impact public health, safety, and welfare.2 To resolve these problems, Code Enforcement typically cites property owners and directs them to remediate or remove the code violations on their property. In certain circumstances, a city, county, or other public agency (collectively "public agency") may even obtain an Inspection and Abatement Warrant to remediate or remove the violation itself.3 In most situations, these procedures are effective. However, almost every public agency has properties that have been longstanding nuisances and where typical Code Enforcement practices have been ineffective ("difficult nuisance properties").4