Theses (Historic Preservation)


Amanda Stevens

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Many neighborhoods are faced with the complex issues of blight and vacant properties, and, if left unaddressed, abandoned properties continue to deteriorate and are subject to demolition by neglect. Prolonged vacancy not only threatens the retention of historic urban fabrics, but also the safety and economic capacity of the surrounding areas. One option to remediate property abandonment is receivership, or the process where a court-appointed party takes control of a neglected property and is given the responsibility to stabilize, rehabilitate or demolish the structure in order to address seriously blighting conditions that the owner has been unwilling or unable to deal with. This thesis examines receivership practices for vacant properties in order to evaluate their effectiveness as a tool to prevent demolition by neglect and support the preservation and revitalization of neighborhoods. The evaluations rely on a national survey of existing enabling legislation across the United States and case studies to determine the strengths and weaknesses of receivership. States need to provide clear and accessible standards that incentivize a range of individuals to participate in the process, but nonetheless, receivership has the potential to be a flexible and strategic tool to address at risk sites and ensure they are successfully rehabilitated.


conservatorship, abandonment, demolition by neglect, vacant properties, rehabilitation



Date Posted: 16 September 2020