Article 3. Abatement of California Health And Safety Code >> Division 10. >> Chapter 10. >> Article 3.
Every building or place used for the purpose of unlawfully
selling, serving, storing, keeping, manufacturing, or giving away any
controlled substance, precursor, or analog specified in this
division, and every building or place wherein or upon which those
acts take place, is a nuisance which shall be enjoined, abated, and
prevented, and for which damages may be recovered, whether it is a
public or private nuisance.
If there is reason to believe that a nuisance, as described
in Section 11570, is kept, maintained, or exists in any county, the
district attorney or county counsel of the county, or the city
attorney of any incorporated city or of any city and county, in the
name of the people, may, or any citizen of the state resident in the
county, in his or her own name, may, maintain an action to abate and
prevent the nuisance and to perpetually enjoin the person conducting
or maintaining it, and the owner, lessee, or agent of the building or
place in or upon which the nuisance exists from directly or
indirectly maintaining or permitting the nuisance.
(a) Nothing in this article shall prevent a local
governing body from adopting and enforcing laws, consistent with this
article, relating to drug abatement. Where local laws duplicate or
supplement this article, this article shall be construed as providing
alternative remedies and not preempting the field.
(b) Nothing in this article shall prevent a tenant from receiving
relief against a forfeiture of a lease pursuant to Section 1179 of
the Code of Civil Procedure.
For purposes of this article, an action to abate a
nuisance may be taken by the city attorney or city prosecutor of the
city within which the nuisance exists, is kept, or is maintained. An
action by a city attorney or city prosecutor shall be accorded the
same precedence as an action maintained by the district attorney of
Unless filed by the district attorney, or the city attorney
of an incorporated city, the complaint in the action shall be
(a) If the existence of the nuisance is shown in the action
to the satisfaction of the court or judge, either by verified
complaint or affidavit, the court or judge shall allow a temporary
restraining order or injunction to abate and prevent the continuance
or recurrence of the nuisance.
(b) A temporary restraining order or injunction may enjoin
subsequent owners, commercial lessees, or agents who acquire the
building or place where the nuisance exists with notice of the
temporary restraining order or injunction, specifying that the owner
of the property subject to the temporary restraining order or
injunction shall notify any prospective purchaser, commercial lessee,
or other successor in interest of the existence of the order or
injunction, and of its application to successors in interest, prior
to entering into any agreement to sell or lease the property. The
temporary restraining order or injunction shall not constitute a
title defect, lien, or encumbrance on the real property.
(a) At the time of application for issuance of a temporary
restraining order or injunction pursuant to Section 11573, if proof
of the existence of the nuisance depends, in whole or part, upon the
affidavits of witnesses who are not peace officers, upon a showing of
prior threats of violence or acts of violence by any defendant or
other person, the court may issue orders to protect those witnesses,
including, but not limited to, nondisclosure of the name, address, or
any other information which may identify those witnesses.
(b) A temporary restraining order or injunction issued pursuant to
Section 11573 may include closure of the premises pending trial when
a prior order or injunction does not result in the abatement of the
nuisance. The duration of the order or injunction shall be within the
court's discretion. In no event shall the total period of closure
pending trial exceed one year. Prior to ruling on a request for
closure the court may order that some or all of the rent payments
owing to the defendant be placed in an escrow account for a period of
up to 90 days or until the nuisance is abated. If the court
subsequently orders a closure of the premises, the money in the
escrow account shall be used to pay for relocation assistance
pursuant to subdivision (d). In ruling upon a request for closure,
whether for a defined or undefined duration, the court shall consider
all of the following factors:
(1) The extent and duration of the nuisance at the time of the
(2) Prior efforts by the defendant to comply with previous court
orders to abate the nuisance.
(3) The nature and extent of any effect which the nuisance has
upon other persons, such as residents or businesses.
(4) Any effect of prior orders placing displaced residents' or
occupants' rent payments into an escrow account upon the defendant's
efforts to abate the nuisance.
(5) The effect of granting the request upon any resident or
occupant of the premises who is not named in the action, including
the availability of alternative housing or relocation assistance, the
pendency of any action to evict a resident or occupant, and any
evidence of participation by a resident or occupant in the nuisance
(c) In making an order of closure pursuant to this section, the
court may order the premises vacated and may issue any other orders
necessary to effectuate the closure. However, all tenants who may be
affected by the order shall be provided reasonable notice and an
opportunity to be heard at all hearings regarding the closure request
prior to the issuance of any order.
(d) In making an order of closure pursuant to this section, the
court shall order the defendant to provide relocation assistance to
any tenant ordered to vacate the premises, provided the court
determines that the tenant was not actively involved in the nuisance
activity. The relocation assistance ordered to be paid by the
defendant shall be in the amount necessary to cover moving costs,
security deposits for utilities and comparable housing, adjustment in
any lost rent, and any other reasonable expenses the court may deem
fair and reasonable as a result of the court's order.
(e) At the hearing to order closure pursuant to this section, the
court may make the following orders with respect to any displaced
tenant not actively involved in the nuisance:
(1) Priority for senior citizens, physically handicapped persons,
or persons otherwise suffering from a permanent or temporary
disability for claims against money for relocation assistance.
(2) Order the local agency seeking closure pursuant to this
section to make reasonable attempts to seek additional sources of
funds for relocation assistance to displaced tenants, if deemed
(3) Appoint a receiver to oversee the disbursement of relocation
assistance funds, whose services shall be paid from the escrow fund.
(4) Where a defendant has paid relocation assistance pursuant to
subdivision (d), the escrow account under subdivision (b) may be
released to the defendant and no appointment under paragraph (3)
shall be made.
(f) (1) The remedies set forth pursuant to this section shall be
in addition to any other existing remedies for nuisance abatement
actions, including, but not limited to, the following:
(A) Capital improvements to the property, such as security gates.
(B) Improved interior or exterior lighting.
(C) Security guards.
(D) Posting of signs.
(E) Owner membership in neighborhood or local merchants'
(F) Attending property management training programs.
(G) Making cosmetic improvements to the property.
(H) Requiring the owner or person in control of the property to
reside in the property until the nuisance is abated. The order shall
specify the number of hours per day or per week the owner or person
in control of the property must be physically present in the
property. In determining this amount, the court shall consider the
nature and severity of the nuisance.
(2) At all stages of an action brought pursuant to this article,
the court has equitable powers to order steps necessary to remedy the
problem and enhance the abatement process.
On granting the temporary writ the court or judge shall
require an undertaking on the part of the applicant to the effect
that the applicant will pay to the defendant enjoined such damages,
not exceeding an amount to be specified, as the defendant sustains by
reason of the injunction if the court finally decides that the
applicant was not entitled to the injunction.
The action shall have precedence over all other actions,
except criminal proceedings, election contests, hearings on
injunctions, and actions to forfeit vehicles under this division.
In any action for abatement instituted pursuant to this
article, all evidence otherwise authorized by law, including evidence
of reputation in a community, as provided in the Evidence Code,
shall be admissible to prove the existence of a nuisance.
If the complaint is filed by a citizen it shall not be
dismissed by him or for want of prosecution except upon a sworn
statement made by him and his attorney, setting forth the reasons why
the action should be dismissed, and by dismissal ordered by the
In case of failure to prosecute the action with reasonable
diligence, or at the request of the plaintiff, the court, in its
discretion, may substitute any other citizen consenting thereto for
If the action is brought by a citizen and the court finds
there was no reasonable ground or cause for the action, the costs
shall be taxed against him.
If the existence of the nuisance is established in the
action, an order of abatement shall be entered as part of the
judgment in the case, and plaintiff's costs in the action are a lien
upon the building or place. The lien is enforceable and collectible
by execution issued by order of the court.
A violation or disobedience of the injunction or order for
abatement is punishable as a contempt of court by a fine of not less
than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than ten thousand dollars
($10,000), or by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than
one nor more than six months, or by both.
A contempt may be based on a violation of any court order
including failure to pay relocation assistance. Notwithstanding any
other provision of law, any fines assessed for contempt shall first
be held by the court and applied to satisfaction of the court's order
for relocation assistance pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section
Evidence concerning the duration and repetitive nature of the
violations shall be considered by the court in determining the
(a) If the existence of the nuisance is established in the
action, an order of abatement shall be entered as a part of the
judgment, which order shall direct the removal from the building or
place of all fixtures, musical instruments, and other movable
property used in conducting, maintaining, aiding, or abetting the
nuisance and shall direct their sale in the manner provided for the
sale of chattels under execution.
(b) (1) The order shall provide for the effectual closing of the
building or place against its use for any purpose, and for keeping it
closed for a period of one year. This subdivision is intended to
give priority to closure. Any alternative to closure may be
considered only as provided in this section.
(2) In addition, the court may assess a civil penalty not to
exceed twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) against any or all of
the defendants, based upon the severity of the nuisance and its
(3) One-half of the civil penalties collected pursuant to this
section shall be deposited in the Restitution Fund in the State
Treasury, the proceeds of which shall be available only upon
appropriation by the Legislature to indemnify persons filing claims
pursuant to Article 1 (commencing with Section 13959) of Chapter 5 of
Part 4 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code, and one-half
of the civil penalties collected shall be paid to the city in which
the judgment was entered, if the action was brought by the city
attorney or city prosecutor. If the action was brought by a district
attorney, one-half of the civil penalties collected shall be paid to
the treasurer of the county in which the judgment was entered.
(c) (1) If the court finds that any vacancy resulting from closure
of the building or place may create a nuisance or that closure is
otherwise harmful to the community, in lieu of ordering the building
or place closed, the court may order the person who is responsible
for the existence of the nuisance, or the person who knowingly
permits controlled substances to be unlawfully sold, served, stored,
kept, or given away in or from a building or place he or she owns, to
pay damages in an amount equal to the fair market rental value of
the building or place for one year to the city or county in whose
jurisdiction the nuisance is located for the purpose of carrying out
drug abuse treatment, prevention, and education programs. If awarded
to a city, eligible programs may include those developed as a result
of cooperative programs among schools, community agencies, and the
local law enforcement agency. These funds shall not be used to
supplant existing city, county, state, or federal resources used for
drug prevention and education programs.
(2) For purposes of this subdivision, the actual amount of rent
being received for the rental of the building or place, or the
existence of any vacancy therein, may be considered, but shall not be
the sole determinant of the fair market rental value. Expert
testimony may be used to determine the fair market rental value.
(d) This section shall become operative on January 1, 1996.
While the order of abatement remains in effect, the building
or place is in the custody of the court.
For removing and selling the movable property, the officer
is entitled to charge and receive the same fees as he would for
levying upon and selling like property on execution; and for closing
the premises and keeping them closed, a reasonable sum shall be
allowed by the court.
The proceeds of the sale of the movable property shall be
applied as follows:
First--To the fees and costs of the removal and sale.
Second--To the allowances and costs of closing and keeping closed
the building or place.
Third--To the payment of the plaintiff's costs in the action.
Fourth--The balance, if any, to the owner of the property.
If the proceeds of the sale of the movable property do not
fully discharge all of the costs, fees, and allowances, the building
and place shall then also be sold under execution issued upon the
order of the court or judge and the proceeds of the sale shall be
applied in like manner.
(a) If the owner of the building or place has not been
guilty of any contempt of court in the proceedings, and appears and
pays all costs, fees, and allowances that are a lien on the building
or place and files a bond in the full value of the property
conditioned that the owner will immediately abate any nuisance that
may exist at the building or place and prevent it from being
established or kept thereat within a period of one year thereafter,
the court, or judge may, if satisfied of the owner's good faith,
order the building or place to be delivered to the owner, and the
order of abatement canceled so far as it may relate to the property.
(b) The release of property under the provisions of this division
does not release it from any judgment, lien, penalty, or liability to
which it may be subject.
Whenever the owner of a building or place upon which the act
or acts constituting the contempt have been committed, or the owner
of any interest therein, has been guilty of a contempt of court, and
fined in any proceedings under this division, the fine is a lien upon
the building or place to the extent of his interest in it.
The lien is enforceable and collectible by execution issued by
order of the court.