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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: March 23, 2016 03:49 PM
From: Representative Chris Ross
To: All House members
Subject: Accelerated Foreclosure Process for Vacant and Abandoned Property
In the near future, I will introduce legislation that provides for an accelerated foreclosure process for vacant and abandoned property.

Blighted properties continue to be a major problem for our boroughs, townships and cities. Local officials tell us that many properties in foreclosure are abandoned. These properties, often, become dangerous eyesores that reduce the property values of taxpaying homeowners in the neighborhood. What’s more, studies show that these properties also become prime location for increased criminal activity, thereby reducing public safety.

The foreclosure process in Pennsylvania lasts from 300 to 540 days. In that time, these properties continue to decay and to deplete municipal resources. As noted above, with a reduced property values for neighbors, the housing market stagnates. Through my bill, we can reduce the timeframe for foreclosure on abandoned and vacant property by 240 days.

Specifically, this bill will limit the use of the “fast track” foreclosure process to vacant and abandoned properties. It provides a process to have a property certified as vacant and abandoned, either by a municipal code officer or through judicial certification, before an expedited foreclosure may commence. The legislation also specifies the process a lender must follow when using expedited foreclosure on these properties.

My bill is the culmination of three years of work by the bicameral, bipartisan Blight Task Force. Stakeholders, including representatives of local government, the banking community and housing advocates have been involved in the discussion and drafting processes. Additionally, we received testimony on the draft legislation in a joint hearing of the House Urban Affairs Committee and the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee.

Since 2009, seven states have enacted “fast-track” foreclosure laws as a way to help local governments and responsible taxpayers maintain and rebuild their communities.

Your support of this legislation is greatly appreciated.

Introduced as HB1954