The court rules as follows on the petition for order to abate substandard building ?

Petitioner City of Costa Mesa petitions for an order to abate substandard building, appointment of receiver and requiring reimbursements.

Facts/Overview:

On August 2, 2013, Petitioner City of Costa Mesa filed a petition for an order to abate substandard building, appointment of a receiver, and requiring reimbursements.

Analysis:

Under Health & Safety Code ? 17980.6, if any building is maintained in a manner that violates any provisions of the Code regarding regulation of buildings used for human habitation, the building standards published in the State Building Standards Code regarding buildings used for human habitation, any other rule or regulation adopted pursuant to the provisions of the Code regarding regulation of buildings used for human habitation, or any provision in a local ordinance that is similar to a provision in the Code regarding regulation of buildings used for human habitation, and the violations are so extensive and of such a nature that the health and safety of residents or the public is substantially endangered, the enforcement agency may issue an order or notice to repair or abate.

 

If an owner fails to comply within a reasonable time with the terms of the order or notice issued pursuant to H&S Code ? 17980.6, the enforcement agency, tenant, or tenant association or organization may seek and the court may order, the appointment of a receiver for the substandard building.? Cal. Health & Safety Code ? 17980.7(c).

 

In appointing a receiver, the court must consider whether the owner has been afforded a reasonable opportunity to correct the conditions cited in the notice of violation.? Cal. Health & Safety Code ? 17980.7(c)(1).? The court may not appoint any person as a receiver unless the person has demonstrated to the court his or her capacity and expertise to develop and supervise a viable financial and construction plan for the satisfactory rehabilitation of the building.? Cal. Health & Safety Code ? 17980.7(c)(2).

 

If a receiver is appointed, the owner and his or her agent of the substandard building may be enjoined from collecting rents from the tenants, interfering with the receiver in the operation of the substandard building, and encumbering or transferring the substandard building or real property upon which the building is situated.? Cal. Health & Safety Code ? 17980.7(c)(3).? Any receiver appointed shall have all of the following powers and duties in the order of priority listed in this paragraph, unless the court otherwise permits:? (A) To take full and complete control of the substandard property; (B) To manage the substandard building and pay expenses of the operation of the substandard building and real property upon which the building is located, including taxes, insurance, utilities, general maintenance, and debt secured by an interest in the real property; (C) To secure a cost estimate and construction plan from a licensed contractor for the repairs necessary to correct the conditions cited in the notice of violation; (D) To enter into contracts and employ a licensed contractor as necessary to correct the conditions cited in the notice of violation; (E) To collect all rents and income from the substandard building; (F) To use all rents and income from the substandard building to pay for the cost of rehabilitation and repairs determined by the court as necessary to correct the conditions cited in the notice of violation; (G) To borrow funds to pay for repairs necessary to correct the conditions cited in the notice of violation and to borrow funds to pay for any relocation benefits and, with court approval, secure that debt and any moneys owed to the receiver for services performed pursuant to this section with a lien on the real property upon which the substandard building is located; and (H) To exercise the powers granted to receivers under CCP ? 568.? Cal. Health & Safety Code ? 17980.7(c)(4).

 

In addition to seeking an order for an appointment of a receiver, the enforcement agency may seek, and the court may order, the owner to not claim any deduction with respect to state taxes for interest, taxes, expenses, depreciation, or amortization paid or incurred with respect to the cited structure, in the taxable year of the initial order or notice.? Cal. Health & Safety Code ? 17980.7(b)(1).

 

If the court finds that a building is in a condition which substantially endangers the health and safety of residents pursuant to H&S Code ? 17980.6, upon the entry of any order or judgment, the court must, among other orders, order the owner to pay all reasonable and actual costs of the enforcement agency including, but not limited to, inspection costs, investigation costs, enforcement costs, attorney fees or costs, and all costs of prosecution.? Cal. Health & Safety Code ? 17980.7(d).

 

Here, Petitioner City of Costa Mesa submitted evidence to show that:? (1) Respondent Secrest owns three contiguous properties in Costa Mesa on 1008 West Wilson Street, 1015 West Wilson Street and 2245 Canyon Drive (?Properties?); (2) the City first became aware of the Properties in 1988 and there has been a long documented history of Secrest maintaining the Properties in a manner that poses a significant threat to life, health and safety of the occupants, surrounding neighbors and community; (3) multiple enforcement efforts over the last 24 years have produced little results; (4) Secrest has been cited for overgrown bushes and trees, vehicles parked in the driveway, dilapidated property, trash and debris in the exterior and peeling paint; (5) on October 9, 2012, Code Enforcement Officer George Nichols inspected the property because Secrest called the police to evict a person living in a RV on the 2245 Canyon property and issued a notice of violation for illegal storage, inoperative vehicles, use of residential yard for storage of vehicles, living in a trailer, use of tarps, dead or dying vegetation, deteriorated walls, fences, trash enclosures and use of temporary canopies in public view; (6) on October 17, 2012, Officer Nichols inspected the exterior of the Properties and found illegal storage of vehicles and substandard and deteriorated exteriors; (7) on November 6, 2012, Officer Nichols noted inoperative vehicles at 1015 W. Wilson; (8) on November 13, 2012, Officer Nichols inspected the exterior of the Properties and found no cleanup had been done to the Wilson Street properties but some trash at the Canyon property had been removed, even though a significant amount of cleaning still needed to be done; (9) on November 21, 2012, Officer Nichols contacted Secrest and asked to inspect the interior of the Properties and Secrest said he would allow an inspection in the first week of December; (10) Officer Nichols followed up on December 4, 2012, December 18, 2012, December 28, 2012 and January 4, 2013 but Secrest refused access each time; (11) on February 26, 2013, an inspection of the exterior of the Properties revealed that there was still dead and overgrown vegetation, dilapidated exteriors, trash and debris in the front and back yards, inoperable vehicles, chipped pain and substandard roofs; (12) the City applied for and was granted an inspection warrant, which was executed on the Properties on March 5, 2013; (13) upon entering 2245 Canyon, Officer Nichols observed broken windows, exposed pipes, broken drywall, illegal wiring, a missing electrical cover in the kitchen, no vent above the stove, deteriorated or peeling paint, storage of inoperable vehicles, deteriorated roof and illegal storage and that the interior displayed serious signs of hoarding; (14) upon entering 1008 W. Wilson, Officer Nichols observed a deteriorated roof, broken windows and glass doors, deteriorated walls, fences and trash enclosures, storage of junk, trash, debris in the front and back yards, peeling paint, dead or dying landscape, missing window screens, inoperable vehicles, and illegal sheds that were falling apart; (15) upon entering 1015 W. Wilson, Officer Nichols observed that there was a hole in the living room wall, along with multiple cracks, electrical wires hanging from the living room ceiling, cable and electrical wiring exposed in the walls, the toilet on the first floor did not work, the bathroom door had a hole in it, water damage to the second floor closet, exposed pipes in the second floor closet and the home had no smoke detectors; (16) during the March 5, 2013 inspection, Officer Nichols documented several health and safety violates, substandard housing violations and property maintenance violations and posted notices on each of the Properties; (17) no progress has been made since March 5, 2013 to abate or address the conditions at the Properties; (18) on June 19, 2013, Officer Nichols mailed and posted on the Properties a notice to abate and gave Secrest until June 22, 2013 to fix the violations; (19) on June 24, 2013, Officer Nichols inspected the Properties and found that little or no improvements had been made.? [Bettenhausen Decl., ? 4; Nichols Decl., ? 5-49]? Petitioner City has demonstrated that Respondent Secrest has maintained properties that are in violation of various codes, has been notified of the violations, was given sufficient time to correct the violations and that the violations have not been corrected.? Respondent Secrest did not file an opposition.

 

The City seeks to appoint Richardson Griswold as the receiver. It attached a copy of Griswold?s resume as Exhibit 7.? The resume shows that Griswold has been appointed multiple times as a Health & Safety receiver by the Orange County and Los Angeles County courts.? He has a background in residential real estate management and rehabilitation.? Griswold is qualified to be appointed receiver of the Properties.

 

For the foregoing reasons, the petition for an order to abate substandard building, appointment of receiver, ?and requiring reimbursements is GRANTED. Richardson Griswold is appointed as receiver.