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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 25, 2017 01:20 PM
From: Senator John P. Blake and Sen. David G. Argall
To: All Senate members
Subject: Expedited foreclosure for vacant and abandoned property
We invite you to co-sponsor our legislation that provides for an accelerated foreclosure process for vacant and abandoned property. This is an anti-blight, community economic development bill.

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 locations 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 reduced property values for neighbors, the housing market stagnates. Through our 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 expedited 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.

Previously introduced in the last session as Senate Bill 1191, a companion to House Bill 1954, this bill is the culmination of four 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, eight states have enacted expedited foreclosure laws as a way to help local governments and responsible taxpayers maintain and rebuild their communities.

Introduced as SB471