160D-1130. Vacant building receivership.

(a) Petition to Appoint a Receiver. - The governing board of a city or its delegated commission may petition the superior court for the appointment of a receiver to rehabilitate, demolish, or sell a vacant building, structure, or dwelling upon the occurrence of any of the following, each of which is deemed a nuisance per se:

(1) The owner fails to comply with an order issued pursuant to G.S. 160D-1122, related to building or structural conditions that constitute a fire or safety hazard or render the building or structure dangerous to life, health, or other property, from which no appeal has been taken.

(2) The owner fails to comply with an order of the city following an appeal of an inspector's order issued pursuant to G.S. 160D-1122.

(3) The governing board of the city adopts any ordinance pursuant to subdivision (f)(1) of G.S. 160D-1129, related to nonresidential buildings or structures that fail to meet minimum standards of maintenance, sanitation, and safety, and orders a public officer to continue enforcement actions prescribed by the ordinance with respect to the named nonresidential building or structure. The public officer may submit a petition on behalf of the governing board to the superior court for the appointment of a receiver, and if granted by the superior court, the petition shall be considered an appropriate means of complying with the ordinance. In the event the superior court does not grant the petition, the public officer and the governing board may take action pursuant to the ordinance in any manner authorized in G.S. 160D-1129.

(4) The owner fails to comply with an order to repair, alter, or improve, remove, or demolish a dwelling issued under G.S. 160D-1203, related to dwellings that are unfit for human habitation.

(5) Any owner or partial owner of a vacant building, structure, or dwelling, with or without the consent of other owners of the property, submits a request to the governing board in the form of a sworn affidavit requesting the governing board to petition the superior court for appointment of a receiver for the property pursuant to this section.

(b) Petition for Appointment of Receiver. - The petition for the appointment of a receiver shall include all of the following: (i) a copy of the original violation notice or order issued by the city or, in the case of an owner request to the governing board for a petition for appointment of a receiver, a verified pleading that avers that at least one owner consents to the petition; (ii) a verified pleading that avers that the required rehabilitation or demolition has not been completed; and (iii) the names of the respondents, which shall include the owner of the property, as recorded with the register of deeds, any mortgagee with a recorded interest in the property, and all other parties in interest, as defined in G.S. 160D-1202(2). If the petition fails to name a respondent as required by this subsection, the proceeding may continue, but the receiver's lien for expenses incurred in rehabilitating, demolishing, or selling the vacant building, structure, or dwelling, as authorized by subsection (f) of this section, does not have priority over the lien of that respondent.

(c) Notice of Proceeding. - Within 10 days after filing the petition, the city shall give notice of the pendency and nature of the proceeding by regular and certified mail to the last known address of all owners of the property, as recorded with the register of deeds, any mortgagee with a recorded interest in the property, and all other parties in interest, as defined in G.S. 160D-1202(2). Within 30 days of the date on which the notice was mailed, an owner of the property, as recorded with the register of deeds, any mortgagee with a recorded interest in the property, and all other parties in interest, as defined in G.S. 160D-1202(2), may apply to intervene in the proceeding and to be appointed as receiver. If the city fails to give notice to any owner of the property, as recorded with the register of deeds, any mortgagee with a recorded interest in the property, and all other parties in interest, as defined in G.S. 160D-1202(2), as required by this subsection, the proceeding may continue, but the receiver's lien for expenses incurred in rehabilitating, demolishing, or selling the vacant building, structure, or dwelling, as authorized by subsection (f) of this section, does not have priority over the lien of that owner, as recorded with the register of deeds, any mortgagee with a recorded interest in the property, and all other parties in interest, as defined in G.S. 160D-1202(2).

(d) Appointment of Receiver. - The court shall appoint a qualified receiver if the provisions of subsections (b) and (c) of this section have been satisfied. If the court does not appoint a person to rehabilitate or demolish the property pursuant to subsection (e) of this section, or if the court dismisses such an appointee, the court shall appoint a qualified receiver for the purpose of rehabilitating and managing the property, demolishing the property, or selling the property to a buyer. To be considered qualified, a receiver must demonstrate to the court (i) the financial ability to complete the purchase or rehabilitation of the property, (ii) the knowledge of, or experience in, the rehabilitation of vacant real property, (iii) the ability to obtain any necessary insurance, and (iv) the absence of any building code violations issued by the city on other real property owned by the person or any member, principal, officer, major stockholder, parent, subsidiary, predecessor, or others affiliated with the person or the person's business. No member of the petitioning city's governing board or a public officer of the petitioning city is qualified to be appointed as a receiver in that action. If, at any time, the court determines that the receiver is no longer qualified, the court may appoint another qualified receiver.

(e) Rehabilitation Not by Receiver. - The court may, instead of appointing a qualified receiver to rehabilitate or sell a vacant building, structure, or dwelling, appoint an owner or other party in interest in the property, as defined in G.S. 160D-1202, to rehabilitate or demolish the property if that person (i) demonstrates the ability to complete the rehabilitation or demolition within a reasonable time, (ii) agrees to comply with a specified schedule for rehabilitation or demolition, and (iii) posts a bond in an amount determined by the court as security for the performance of the required work in compliance with the specified schedule. After the appointment, the court shall require the person to report to the court on the progress of the rehabilitation or demolition, according to a schedule determined by the court. If, at any time, it appears to the city or its delegated commission that the owner, mortgagee, or other person appointed under this subsection is not proceeding with due diligence or in compliance with the court-ordered schedule, the city or its delegated commission may apply to the court for immediate revocation of that person's appointment and for the appointment of a qualified receiver. If the court revokes the appointment and appoints a qualified receiver, the bond posted by the owner, mortgagee, or other person shall be applied to the receiver's expenses in rehabilitating, demolishing, or selling the vacant building, structure, or dwelling.

(f) Receiver Authority Exclusive. - Upon the appointment of a receiver under subsection (d) of this section and after the receiver records a notice of receivership in the county in which the property is located that identifies the property, all other parties are divested of any authority to collect rents or other income from or to rehabilitate, demolish, or sell the building, structure, or dwelling subject to the receivership. Any party other than the appointed receiver who actively attempts to collect rents or other income from or to rehabilitate, demolish, or sell the property may be held in contempt of court and is subject to the penalties authorized by law for that offense. Any costs or fees incurred by a receiver appointed under this section and set by the court constitute a lien against the property, and the receiver's lien has priority over all other liens and encumbrances, except taxes or other government assessments.

(g) Receiver's Authority to Rehabilitate or Demolish. - In addition to all necessary and customary powers, a receiver appointed to rehabilitate or demolish a vacant building, structure, or dwelling has the right of possession with authority to do all of the following:

(1) Contract for necessary labor and supplies for rehabilitation or demolition.

(2) Borrow money for rehabilitation or demolition from an approved lending institution or through a governmental agency or program, using the receiver's lien against the property as security.

(3) Manage the property prior to rehabilitation or demolition and pay operational expenses of the property, including taxes, insurance, utilities, general maintenance, and debt secured by an interest in the property.

(4) Collect all rents and income from the property, which shall be used to pay for current operating expenses and repayment of outstanding rehabilitation or demolition expenses.

(5) Manage the property after rehabilitation, with all the powers of a landlord, for a period of up to two years and apply the rent received to current operating expenses and repayment of outstanding rehabilitation or demolition expenses.

(6) Foreclose on the receiver's lien or accept a deed in lieu of foreclosure.

(h) Receiver's Authority to Sell. - In addition to all necessary and customary powers, a receiver appointed to sell a vacant building, structure, or dwelling may do all of the following: (i) sell the property to the highest bidder at public sale, following the same presale notice provisions that apply to a mortgage foreclosure under Article 2A of Chapter 45 of the General Statutes, and (ii) sell the property privately for fair market value if no party to the receivership objects to the amount and procedure. In the notice of public sale authorized under this subsection, it is sufficient to describe the property by a street address and reference to the book and page or other location where the property deed is registered. Prior to any sale under this subsection, the applicants to bid in the public sale or the proposed buyer in the private sale shall demonstrate the ability and experience needed to rehabilitate the property within a reasonable time. After deducting the expenses of the sale, the amount of outstanding taxes and other government assessments, and the amount of the receiver's lien, the receiver shall apply any remaining proceeds of the sale first to the city's costs and expenses, including reasonable attorneys' fees, and then to the liens against the property in order of priority. Any remaining proceeds shall be remitted to the property owner.

(i) Receiver Forecloses on Lien. - A receiver may foreclose on the lien authorized by subsection (f) of this section by selling the property subject to the lien at a public sale, following public notice and notice to interested parties in the manner as a mortgage foreclosure under Article 2A of Chapter 45 of the General Statutes. After deducting the expenses of the sale and the amount of any outstanding taxes and other government assessments, the receiver shall apply the proceeds of the sale to the liens against the property, in order of priority. In lieu of foreclosure, and only if the receiver has rehabilitated the property, an owner may pay the receiver's costs, fees, including reasonable attorneys' fees, and expenses or may transfer ownership in the property to either the receiver or an agreed upon third party for an amount agreed to by all parties to the receivership as being the property's fair market value.

(j) Deed After Sale. - Following the court's ratification of the sale of the property under this section, the receiver shall sign a deed conveying title to the property to the buyer, free and clear of all encumbrances, other than restrictions that run with the land. Upon the sale of the property, the receiver shall at the same time file with the court a final accounting and a motion to dismiss the action.

(k) Receiver's Tenure. - The tenure of a receiver appointed to rehabilitate, demolish, or sell a vacant building, structure, or dwelling shall extend no longer than two years after the rehabilitation, demolition, or sale of the property. Any time after the rehabilitation, demolition, or sale of the property, any party to the receivership may file a motion to dismiss the receiver upon the payment of the receiver's outstanding costs, fees, and expenses. Upon the expiration of the receiver's tenure, the receiver shall file a final accounting with the court that appointed the receiver.

(l) Administrative Fee Charged. - The city may charge the owner of the building, structure, or dwelling subject to the receivership an administrative fee that is equal to five percent (5%) of the profits from the sale of the building, structure, or dwelling or one hundred dollars ($100.00), whichever is less. (2020-25, s. 38(a).)