The reorganization of the City’s code enforcement and project review functions into a single division is leading to new efforts and approaches to long-outstanding issues at seemingly incurable problem properties. After pursuing standard methods of code enforcement on two such properties, including violations, fines and liens, the Department of Planning and Development, Division of Development Services has implemented the receivership option allowed under State Law to bring them to resolution; paving the way for rehabilitation of the residential units.
In November of 2010 the City identified a small list of target properties to pursue through its newly adopted Receivership Program. These properties had among other issues deteriorated structures, units deemed unfit for human habitation, accumulation of trash, debris and filth, unauthorized access and break-ins, unresponsive or unidentifiable owners; all of which negatively impacted the neighbors and City.
On August 8th, Housing Court Judge David D. Kerman granted DPD’s petition for receivers, under Chapter 111 Section 127Iof Massachusetts General Law, for the properties located at 128 6th Street in Centralville, and 41 Ellis Avenue in Pawtucketville. The Charles Hope Company, which was recommended by DPD, was appointed receiver for both properties. The next hearing on these properties is scheduled for September 12th, at which Judge Kerman is expected to review the Charles Hope Company’s rehabilitation plan and associated costs.
The goal of the Receivership Program is to bring properties back into beneficial use through occupancy and proper upkeep. The appointed receiver is authorized to rehabilitate the properties and make such repairs and renovations required to bring them into compliance with local and state codes. The rehabilitation projects can typically take up to one year to complete.
The cost of rehabilitation is borne by the receiver and recouped through rental income and/or sale of the property. Both properties have thousands of dollars in outstanding municipal taxes, fines and fees which will also be collected as part of any rents or sale proceeds. 128 Sixth Street and 41 Ellis Avenue were identified in an initial list of candidate properties by DPD. Three additional properties originally identified have avoided the receivership program. In these cases the owners or responsible parties have completed or are initiating repairs on their own, rather than be taken through the receivership program.
DPD is in the process of preparing a new list of candidate properties for receivership petitions. The targeted properties are typically abandoned by the owners or mortgage holders, are in disrepair such that they create a health and/or safety hazard to the surrounding neighborhood and public at large, and have a history of existing violations. DPD expects to file petitions for the next round of properties in late fall.
For more information contact Kendra Amaral, Deputy Director, DPD Development Services at 978-674-1471 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.