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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: July 1, 2015 01:50 PM
From: Representative James R. Santora
To: All House members
Subject: Co-Sponsor Memo- Protect buyers and sellers of real estate by amending Act 99 of 2000.
In the near future I plan to introduce legislation that will protect buyers and sellers of real estate by amending Act 99 of 2000.

The intent of Act 99 of 2000 is to protect real estate sales in PA by allowing municipalities to inspect “for sale” homes for property maintenance violations, but also requiring that certificates of occupancy be issued unless the property is "unfit for habitation." The intent of the act was to allow private negotiations to take place, between sellers and buyers, regarding which party would pay for necessary code-related repairs. Unfortunately, some municipalities have chosen to define "unfit for habitation" as any property maintenance violation, no matter how minor.

For example, parties to real estate transactions have found themselves unable to close on a transaction due to something as simple as the size of the house numbers on their mailboxes that need to be ordered due to an ordinance that requires them to be a nonstandard size.

These municipalities are withholding use and occupancy certificates, which are needed to allow settlement to move forward, until all code violations are corrected. Many times this means that the financial burden of all repairs is forced upon the seller prior to settlement. In the case of a foreclosure or short sale, this practice can also force a buyer into making repairs to a home he or she does not yet own.

This amendment will correct the current issue by:
  • requiring that certificates be issued by municipalities who choose to conduct resale code inspections, regardless of the nature of code violation found;
  • requiring that all code violations be corrected within a certain timeline by buyers, with financial penalties for failure to comply left in place; and
  • defining "unfit for habitation" to provide clearer guidance to local code enforcement officials.
Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as HB1480