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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: December 30, 2016 08:48 AM
From: Representative Lynda Schlegel Culver
To: All House members
Subject: Adverse Possession Legislation
Throughout the Commonwealth, individuals and families live in homes where there is no clear title associated with the property.

Examples where this may apply include tenancies where the landlord has disappeared or died, or inheritances that never complete the legal process. While occupants pay property taxes in some cases, in others they are not allowed to enter into repayment agreements with the taxing jurisdiction due to lack of clear title. In these situations, residents cannot qualify for home improvement loans or municipal grant programs due to "tangled title."

I will soon be introducing legislation that amends Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes by reducing standard period of time needed to acquire a title through adverse possession under specified circumstances. Through adverse possession, a property that has been abandoned by the owner on record can be re-titled in the name of another who has a long-standing relationship to that property.

Under my legislation, an individual could obtain a clear title to a property under adverse possession in 10 years instead of the 21 years required by current law. The property must be less that one-half (1/2) acre in size and contain a single-family home. The claimant must also meet all of the underlining requirements of adverse possession under current Pennsylvania law.

This bill has been reworked and received significant support in previous sessions. Last session, the bill was introduced by Representative Masser, was passed in the House by a wide margin and was then referred to the Senate where no further action was taken. Proponents of the bill include the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Bar Association, both of which were instrumental in its drafting. No organizations have expressed opposition to the bill.

Please join me in cosponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as HB352