|Posted:||February 6, 2023 09:39 AM|
|From:||Representative Emily Kinkead|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Changes to the Municipal Claims and Tax Lien Law for Counties of the Second Class|
|The Pennsylvania Land Bank Act (PLBA), Act 153 of 2012, provided Pennsylvania communities the ability to create what are known as land banks. These entities can be an effective tool to revitalize neighborhoods by transitioning blighted properties to beneficial reuses like single family homes, stabilizing standing structures that support neighborhood commercial districts, and transforming vacant land for use in addressing community needs. Unfortunately, since it was established in 2014, the Pittsburgh Land Bank and other Allegheny County land banks have struggled to succeed due to the difficulty in property acquisition. For this reason, I will be re-introducing House Bill 1750 of the 2021-22 session.
The PLBA provides special abilities that make it easier for land bank communities to gain access to abandoned properties and determine their outcome if they utilize a Sheriff Sale process. However, the Municipal Claims and Tax Lien Law (MCTLL), which governs Sheriff Sales, extends these more efficient and inexpensive means of foreclosing municipal claims and tax lien powers only to Philadelphia. Our region utilizes the Second Class City Treasurer’s Sale and Collection Act for land recycling. These tax sales are cumbersome and do not produce a clean and insurable title until a separate court action to “untangle” or “quiet” a title takes place, which can delay the acquisition and turnover of these properties for months, if not years. And only once ownership is cleanly transferred can the recovery/revitalization process occur.
My bill would extend the powers of the MCTLL to the City of Pittsburgh and the surrounding municipalities of Allegheny County, and their land banks. By placing Pittsburgh and the other municipalities into MCTLL, they would have the ability to use the priority bid process, which would get properties to the Sheriff’s Sales faster and ultimately make it easier to insure title post-sale.
Blight restoration is a crucial aspect of any thriving community and ensuring that our Allegheny County land banks have all the tools necessary for successful land recycling would help to remedy blighted properties while also addressing issues like our region’s ongoing housing crisis.
Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.
Introduced as HB711