When the owner of a property or properties fails to take proper care of said properties, the state or municipality may take over management of the properties by force. What is the legal term for this?

  • 2
    Where does this happen?
    – Dale M
    Commented Sep 27, 2021 at 21:56

2 Answers 2


There are multiple terms for different variants on this fact pattern. There is also considerable regional variation in local practice regarding what this is called.

Global assumption of management of property by someone other than the owner pursuant to court order because the owner has neglected obligations related to a property is frequently called a "receivership" and is usually temporary until there is a foreclosure of the property, or until defaults in the owner's obligations are cured. The receiver's expenses are typically taken out of the revenue generated by the property, if any, and if none, are billed to the owner or taken out of the proceeds of a foreclosure sale.

In bankruptcy, and less frequently, in other circumstances, a "trustee" or "custodian" or "conservator" or "administrator" is appointed to manage the property (outside of bankruptcy, these terms are more often used when property is neglected due to the owner's incapacity, death, or disappearance without explanation).

In a more piecemeal fashion, sometimes a government has the authority, for example, to mow your lawn at your expense if you fail to do so to the extent required by a municipal ordinance. This is sometimes called an "assessment" or "special assessment" although there are other names for it as well that aren't coming to mind at the moment. These assessments typically then become liens against the property.

  • Thank you so much! Another question: you use the verb "cure" ("until defaults in the owner's obligations are cured") – is there a difference between this verb used in this context and the verb "remedy" used in the same context?
    – Helen
    Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 14:07
  • 1
    @Helen The word "cure" means to take all measures necessary to pay outstanding and due amounts owe (other than debts accelerated as a result of a default) and to fix all non-monetary defaults on a legal obligation.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Sep 30, 2021 at 19:48
  • Thank you ohwilleke for the clarification! Would you say the verb "remedy" cannot be used in this sense then?
    – Helen
    Commented Oct 1, 2021 at 12:02
  • 1
    @Helen "Remedy" wouldn't be entirely wrong, but typically refers to what a court does at the conclusion of the legal process involuntarily, while a "cure" (it is both a noun and a verb) usually refers to a pre-judgment voluntary resolution of legally well defined defaults or violations. The word "remedy" as a verb rather than a noun is used less often in the law because it is harder to distinguish from the noun in context, and because "remedy" has connotations that exceed strict legal compliance (making someone whole, rather than merely resolving the specific things that you did wrong).
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Oct 1, 2021 at 19:56
  • Thank you so much, ohwilleke – excellent explanation as always!
    – Helen
    Commented Oct 4, 2021 at 17:18

What is the legal term for this?

Compulsory Purchase Order

See s.12 of the Housing Act 1957:

Where a person has appealed against a notice under this Part of this Act requiring the execution of works to a house, and the judge or court in allowing the appeal has found that the house cannot be rendered fit for human habitation at a reasonable expense, the local authority may purchase that house by agreement or may be authorised by the Minister to purchase it compulsorily; and the First Schedule to this Act shall apply in relation to a compulsory purchase under this section.

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