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Date March, 2003
Client The Pennsylvania Low Income Housing Coalition
Length 36 pages

resource guide

Reclaiming Abandoned Pennsylvania

Reclaiming Abandoned Pennsylvania provided ten recommendations for changes to state law to facilitate the reuse of abandoned and blighted land. The report, the first of its kind to analyze the state legal framework regarding abandonment, was enthusiastically received throughout the state and is now in its third reprinting.

Recommendations
To give Philadelphia the tools it needs to address blight and abandonment, the report recommends the following changes to state law:

1. Create a statewide inventory of abandoned residential property
2. Promote the effective acquisition, assembly and disposition of abandoned properties through the use of land banks
3. Introduce hardship waiver for low value homes to Medicaid Estate Recovery Program
4. Modernize the Tax Liens Act foreclosure law
5. Reform eminent domain law
6. Increase owner accountability to encourage property donation
7. Establish a private right of action to address blight and abandonment
8. Create a Smart Rehabilitation Building Subcode
9. Reduce time for possession to 10 years under Adverse Possession Law
10. Provide funding and incentives for property maintenance

Results
Due to the effective advocacy of the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania, five recommendations have been enacted into law.

1. Eliminate the redemption period for vacant properties sold at tax sale to make properties more marketable. July 15, 2004
2. Streamline tax foreclosure of multiple properties through single petition filing to save municipalities time and money. July 15, 2004
3. Encourage credit bureaus to note tax delinquency on blighted and abandoned properties on owner's credit report by requiring municipalities to maintain key information. February 21, 2006
4. Allow a delinquent owner to donate property to a tax authority for tax forgiveness. February 21, 2006
5. Permit limited letters of administration to allow redevelopment authority to administer estate where owner has died and no one has stepped forward to administer the estate. November 29, 2006