Some of the highest foreclosure rates in the nation are right here in California. In cities like Stockton or counties like San Bernardino, thousands of homes lay vacant and in disrepair. Banks can be reluctant to invest money in the upkeep of a property they’re already losing money, so California’s municipal governments are trying new ways to prevent blight. More often, homes are being put into a public health and safety receivership.

The new way of handling the properties takes over control from the owner and transfers it to a court appointed official, who then determines how to repair, improve, or maintain the property.

The need for receiverships has emerged during the rounds of budget cuts in the last half decade. One of the most-often gutted departments is code enforcement, leaving few officers on the street to enforce local property ordinances.

One company in California that manages properties in Receivership has seen its business increase by upwards of 40% in the last few months.

From California Watch:

Cities throughout California are grappling with foreclosed homes and struggling or recalcitrant homeowners whose properties have become eyesores. Now, an increasing number of local authorities are initiating health and safety receiverships, a legal process in which control of the property is temporarily taken from the owner and placed with a court-appointed officer.

“It’s really an emerging field and an emerging resource that cities are turning towards,” said Dean Pucci, director of the receiverships division for the law offices of Jones & Mayer.
Remedies that local agencies typically used during the past decade may no longer be possible, as city code enforcement budgets have been slashed and an increasing number of homes are cited for serious code violations.

Read the full article here.