HARRISBURG—Senator John DiSanto (Dauphin/Perry) announced today his new legislation which seeks to give municipalities stronger enforcement mechanisms to better combat abandoned and dilapidated properties. The two bills are a culmination of work by the Statewide Blight Task Force, chaired by Senator Dave Argall (Schuykill/Berks), and input from city officials and industry experts at Senator DiSanto’s blight roundtable discussion in Harrisburg last legislative session.
The first bill, Senate Bill 940, enables municipalities to issue condemnation orders against a non-compliant property and file them with the county tax claim bureau and recorder of deeds. The order’s validity would not be impacted by an upset, judiciary, or repository sale of the property.
The second bill, Senate Bill 941, requires disclosure of condemned properties in tax sale notices and advises purchasers of their obligation to bring the property into compliance. Buyers must also sign a written acknowledgement recognizing they may be liable for fines and other enforcement remedies for failure to comply with codes.
“Despite municipal officials’ best efforts at tackling blight, negligent owners often elude code violations and abandon their properties, creating a public nuisance that is unsafe and harmful to our communities,” said DiSanto. “Current law only applies condemnation orders against the owner, not the property, so if the condemned property is sold privately or through a judicial sale or county repository, local officials must start the enforcement process all over again.”
City of Harrisburg Codes Administrator Dave Patton said, “I want to commend Senator DiSanto for his efforts at tackling blight in Pennsylvania. Municipalities are happy to see a renewed enthusiasm in the legislature for this serious issue. Blight affects urban, suburban, and even rural communities, and we welcome these new tools to help us hold blighted property owners accountable.”
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