HOUSE BILL NO. 582
AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 46 OF TITLE 25 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO LIENS FOR RAZING OR DEMOLITION OF STRUCTURES BY PUBLIC EXPENDITURES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:
Section 1. Amend Chapter 46, Title 25, Delaware Code by striking §4601 and §4602 in their entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:
"§4601. Obligation of owners; lien; transfer of lien upon executed sale; lien docket
(a) Except in those cases where a building or structure is demolished under emergency conditions, no lien or personal judgment, as provided in subsections (b) and (c) herein, may be obtained for the recovery of demolition costs by any municipality or other political subdivision unless notice to the record owner or owners of such building or structure and to any record lien holders thereof has been given prior to such demolition. For purposes of this subsection, the mailing of a certified letter, return receipt requested, at least five days prior to demolition, to the last known address of the record owner, owners or lien holders and notifying same of the address of the property to be demolished, the condition of the property, and the legal right of the municipality or political subdivision to obtain a judgment against the owner and a lien against the property after demolition, shall be deemed sufficient notice. In those cases where a building or structure is demolished under emergecy conditions, a municipality or political subdivision may subsequently secure a personal judgment or obtain a lien against the property without first having complied with the foregoing notice provisions.
(b) In the event any municipality or other political subdivision of this State, in the exercise of its slum clearance and redevelopment authority or its urban renewal authority, or its authority in carrying out any duly adopted building code, shall have expended public funds for the purpose of razing or demolishing any abondoned or vacant building deemed to be unsafe or any other unsafe building or structure within its jurisdiction, after such notice is provided for in subsection (a), the sums so expended, with legal interest thereon from the date of expenditure, shall be reimbursed to such municipality or political subdivision, on demand, by the person or persons who were the owner or owners of such building or structure at the time such work of razing or demolition commenced, and if not so reimbursed, said sums, with interest accrued thereon, may be collected from such owner or owners in an action at law commenced by such municipality or political subdivision within six (6) years after the date of the final expenditure of funds for such razing or demolition.
(c) In those instances where a municipality of other political subdivision of this State shall expend public funds for the purpose of razing or demolishing any abandoned building deemed to be unsafe or any other unsafe building or structure within its jurisdiction, after such notice as is provided for in subsection (a), such municipality or political subdivision may enter a lien for the amount so expended, with interest accrued thereon, on the lands and premises on which such work of razing or demolition was performed, in the Office of the Prothonotary for the County in which such lands and premises are situate in the docket provided for in subsection (d) following and such liens shall continue until paid and discharged.
(d) The Prothonotary of each County shall, under the direction and supervision of the county government, prepare a docket to be known as the 'Lien Docket for Public Expenditures for Razing and Demolition' in which shall be recorded all liens provided for by subsection (b) above. Such liens shall be certified in writing to the Prothonotary by the municipality or other governmental subdivisions of this State entitled to the same, which certification shall list the owner of the lands and premises as such owner appears on the tax assessment records of such municipality or other political subdivision on the date of lien certification, the principal amount of the lien, and the applicable interest rate, and shall identify the lands and premises by brief description and by the parcel number thereof as said parcel number appears on the real estate tax records of such municipality or other governmental subdivision. Such information and the date of filing shall be entered by the Prothonotary in the lien docket, which docket shall contain in the back thereof an index according to the name of the owner of the property against which such lien is entered. When any such lien is satisfied by payment, the Prothonotary, acting under the supervision of the municipality or other political subdivision holding such lien, shall enter thereon the date of final payment and the words 'satisfied in full'. The Prothonotary, for the use of the county government, shall receive a fee of $1.00 for each satisfaction.
§4602. Priority of lien; transfer of lien upon executed sale
Any lien filed pursuant to this Chapter shall have
over any other lien upon or interest in the lands and premises upon which the razed or demolished building or structure was situated, even though such other lien was entered of record or such interest vested prior to the date of filing of the lien arising under this Chapter, excepting any lien for taxes. In the case of sale under execution process of any premises upon which any lien for such public expenditures exists, the lien shall be transferred to the fund arising from the sale in the hands of the officer making the sale, and the premises so sold shall be discharged therefrom."
Approved July 20, 1977.