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Pennsylvania law used to rehab neglected houses

A Pennsylvania community development corporation is using a provision of state law to gain ownership of neglected or abandoned residential real estate in order to rehab it. The law relied on concerns conservatorship. The group, Mount Airy USA has targeted the property at 59 E. Phil-Ellen Street in Pennsylvania for its first such project.

That abandoned house has been in that condition for approximately three years and is full of code violations cited by the city after inspections. The Blighted and Abandoned Property Conservatorship Act of 2008 permits a corporation such as Mount Airy and a handful of other types of entities to ask a court to let them act in place of the title owners if the taxes are delinquent, the home is vacant or the building is in a dilapidated condition. They can either knock down the property or fix it up.

This kind of action could help to revitalize residential businesses and nearby business districts and return vacant property to productive use. To use the new law, a community development corporation must properly notify the property owners and serve them with a court petition, allowing them an opportunity to answer. The city has helped Mount Airy USA compile a list of properties that might qualify for this treatment under the relatively new law. Experienced real estate attorneys stand ready to assist those in pursuing similar projects.

Mount Airy USA was recently appointed conservator of its first targeted property and will begin the rehabilitation process soon. While the building has a number of problems, it has been determined to be structurally sound. This reportedly is the first successful use of the conservatorship law in Philadelphia.

philly.com, "On the House: Group tries a new tactic to rehabilitate a property" Alan J. Heavens, Oct. 27, 2013

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