Under current law, a local government enforcement agency may issue a notice of violation to the owner of a residential property for the failure to comply with building codes or for the existence of a nuisance on the property. After giving the owner 30 days’ notice to abate the violation or nuisance (or a shorter period of time if deemed necessary to prevent or remedy an immediate threat to the health and safety of the public or occupants of the structure), the enforcement agency may institute any appropriate action or proceeding to prevent, restrain, correct, or abate the violation or nuisance. These actions or proceedings may include civil fines, prosecution of the owner for a misdemeanor, and in the case of a property that constitutes a substandard building” (as defined), court appointment of a receiver. If a court appoints a receiver, the receiver takes complete control of the property, collects rents, and pays all operating expenses. The receiver also hires contractors to remedy the code violations. For his/her services, the receiver is entitled to the same fees, commissions, and necessary expenses as receivers in actions to foreclose mortgages. If the rents and other income from the property are insufficient to cover the costs of repair, the receiver may borrow funds and, with court approval, secure that debt and any unrecovered costs and fees of the receiver with a lien against the property.

Existing law, until January 1, 2013, requires the owner of a foreclosed, vacant, residential property to maintain the property, including preventing excessive foliage growth that diminishes the value of surrounding properties, preventing trespassers or squatters from remaining on the property, preventing mosquito larvae from growing in standing water, and preventing other conditions that create a public nuisance. After giving the owner at least 30 days to remedy the violations, or less if conditions on the property threaten public health or safety, a governmental entity may impose a fine of up to $1,000 per day for a violation of these requirements. The governmental agency must allow for a hearing and the opportunity to contest any fine imposed. Existing law directs these fine revenues to local nuisance abatement programs.

This legislation deletes the sunset on the latter provisions requiring an owner of a foreclosed, vacant, residential property to maintain the property.

This legislation provides that if a person has purchased and is in the process of diligently abating any violation at a residential property that has been foreclosed on or after January 1, 2008, an enforcement agency shall not commence any action or proceeding until at least 60 days after the person takes title to the property, unless a shorter period of time is deemed necessary by the enforcement agency in its sole discretion to prevent or remedy an immediate threat to the health and safety of the neighboring community, the public or occupants of the structure.

This bill additionally provides that if an entity releases a lien securing a deed of trust or mortgage on a property for which a notice of pendency of action has been recorded (as specified), it shall notify in writing the enforcement agency that issued the order or notice within 30 days of releasing the lien.

The new law further allows a receiver for substandard residential property to seek a court order ordering the property owner to pay all unrecovered costs associated with a receivership.

Enacted August 2012. Link to bill: http://leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/asm/ab_2301-2350/ab_2314_bill_20120827_chaptered.pdf