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Under the abatement law, the judgment requires the removal from the premises and the sale of all fixtures, musical instruments and other movable property used in conducting, maintaining, aiding or abetting the nuisance. The premises must be closed for one year unless the court finds that a vacant building would be more harmful to the community than an occupied one. The legislative intent in the closure provision indicated that closure is the first priority. If the building is not ordered vacated, the defendant can be required to pay damages equivalent to one year’s fair market rental value of the building. (Health and Safety code section 11581). (Ord. 2576, § 6, 6/27/2017)
In addition to actual damages, damages of up to twenty- five thousand dollars ($25,000) may be assessed against any or all of the defendant as a civil penalty. (Health and Safety Code section 11581). Civil penalties shall be apportioned pursuant to Health and Safety Code section 11489. (Ord. 2576, § 6, 6/27/2017)
Once the existence of a nuisance is established, an order of abatement is entered as part of the judgment and the plaintiff’s costs are a lien upon the building or place. The lien is enforceable and collectible by execution issued by order of the court. (Health and Safety Code sections 11579, 11582). The court retains custody of the building or place for the duration of the abatement order. (Ord. 2576, § 6, 6/27/2017)
A violation of any of the abatement orders, from the temporary restraining order through the final judgment, is punishable as contempt of court with attendant fines from five hundred dollars ($500) through ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or a county jail sentence of not less than one nor more than six months or both. Fines collected for contempt must be used as a first priority for relocation payments to innocent tenants. (Health and Safety Code section 11580.) (Ord. 2576, § 6, 6/27/2017)
The County’s costs may be recouped from the sale of the movable property. In addition if the movable property proceeds do not satisfy the plaintiff’s costs, the building or place can be sold. (Health and Safety Code section 11585). (Ord. 2576, § 6, 6/27/2017)
The building or place may be released to the owner, if the owner has not been guilty of any contempt during the court proceedings, pays all costs and fees that are a lien on the building or places 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 and will do this for a period of one year. (Health and Safety Code section 11586). (Ord. 2576, § 6, 6/27/2017)