Section 6-5-156.3

Standard of proof; damages and other relief; jurisdiction and powers of court; appointment of receiver; eviction of tenant.

(a) The plaintiff is required by a preponderance of the evidence to establish that a drug-related nuisance exists. The plaintiff is required by clear and convincing evidence to establish that the owner of the property who is not a resident or in actual possession of the property was criminally culpable in aiding and abetting in the drug related nuisance.

(b) If the existence of a drug-related nuisance is found, the judgment may include actual damages and an injunction to restrain, abate, and prevent the continuance or recurrence of the drug-related nuisance. The court may grant declaratory relief, mandatory orders, or any other relief deemed necessary to accomplish the purposes of the injunction or order and enforce the judgment or order.

(c) The court may retain jurisdiction of the case for the purpose of enforcing its orders.

(d) If the existence of a drug-related nuisance is found, the court shall have additional power to fashion any one or more of the following remedies:

(1) Assess damages against the defendant in favor of each plaintiff of not less than three hundred dollars ($300) nor more than forty thousand dollars ($40,000), or a lien on the property.

(2) Assess costs of the action against the defendant.

(3) Assess reasonable attorney fees since the filing of the complaint, payable to a private attorney filing the complaint or the municipal, county, or state agency by which the prosecuting attorney is employed.

(4) When a government agency is a plaintiff in the action, assess a fine against the defendant of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) in addition to attorney fees.

(5) Order the owner to clean up the property and make repairs upon the property.

(6) Suspend or revoke any business, housing, operational, or liquor license. The suspension of any beer, wine, or liquor license held by or belonging to the defendant for at least 90 days is mandatory if the court finds a drug-related nuisance.

(7) Order the owner to make additional reasonable expenditures upon the property, including, but not limited to, installing secure locks on doors, hiring private security personnel, increasing lighting in common areas, and using videotaped surveillance of the property and adjacent alleyways, sidewalks, and parking lots.

(8) Order all rental income from the property to be placed in an escrow account with the court for up to 90 days or until the drug-related nuisance is abated.

(9) Order all rental income for property transferred to a trustee, to be appointed by the court, who shall be empowered to use the rental income to take reasonable expenditures related to the property in order to abate the drug-related nuisance.

(10) Order the suspension of any state, city, or local governmental subsidies payable to the owners of the property, including, but not limited to, tenant assistance payments to landlords, until the nuisance is abated.

(11) Allow the plaintiff to seal the property with the cost of sealing payable by the defendant.

(e) In making any order under this division, the court shall consider, among others, the following factors:

(1) The effect the drug-related nuisance has had on the community.

(2) The number of people residing at the property.

(3) The proximity of the property to other residential structures.

(4) The number of times the property has been cited for housing code or health code violations.

(5) The number of times the owner has been notified of drug-related problems at the property.

(6) The extent and duration of the drug-related nuisance at the time of the order.

(7) Prior efforts or lack of effort by the defendant to abate the drug-related nuisance.

(8) The involvement of the owners in the drug-related nuisance.

(9) The costs incurred by the jurisdiction, community-based organization, individuals, or their attorneys, investigating, correcting, or attempting to correct the drug-related nuisance.

(10) Whether the drug-related nuisance was continuous or recurring.

(11) The economic or financial benefit accruing or likely to accrue to the defendant as a result of the conditions constituting the drug-related nuisance.

(12) Any other factors the court deems relevant.

(f) In making an order under subsection (d), the court shall not consider the lack of action by other property owners to abate alleged drug-related nuisances.

(g) If the building is ordered closed, then the court shall appoint a receiver to sell all of the furnishings and fixtures located in the building which are owned by the building owner, and place the funds from the sale in an escrow account to be used to satisfy the judgment. If the proceeds are inadequate to pay the judgment, the court may order public sale of the property with the proceeds to be paid into an escrow account.

(h) The owner of the property on which a tenant maintains a drug-related nuisance may in the same proceeding seek the eviction of the tenant.

(Acts 1996, No. 96-566, p. 849, §14.)