Act 135 provides a mechanism by which the city of Philadelphia can address neglected and deteriorating properties. The act takes specific aim at combating the growing disparity between wealthy and impoverished neighborhoods by transforming areas marred by blighted properties into flourishing livable communities. By empowering a neighbor, nonprofit organization, municipality, school district or redevelopment authority, the public can take control and ask a judge to appoint a responsible party to ensure agreement with city code standards. The organization or person selected by the judge, known as the conservator, retains responsibility for the current state of the property and provides the necessary tools to reverse blighted conditions in favor of livable possibilities.

“If these buildings are not rehabilitated, they are likely to remain abandoned and further deteriorate, resulting in increased costs to the Commonwealth, municipality and taxpayers to secure and ultimately demolish them”. – The Abandoned and Blighted Conservatorship Act

Act 135 will serve as a last resort for the community after the owner of the dilapidated property cannot be located following due diligence, the deterioration of the property cannot be salvaged by the owner, or the property is labeled a safety hazard to the community.

Identifying Eligible Properties for Conservatorship

The following four criteria must be met:

  1. The property must not have been legally occupied for at least the previous 12 months.
  2. The property must not have been actively marketed for sale during the 60 days before the date of the petition. A property is  considered “actively marketed” under the following conditions:
    1. “For Sale” sign has been placed with accurate contact information, and the owner has undertaken at least one of the following measures:
      1. Action to market the property – Multiple Listing Service
      2. Advertised the property for a sale on a weekly or more frequent basis via social media
      3. Distributed printed advertisements
  3. The property must not be subject to an existing foreclosure action
  4. The property has been owned by the current owner for at least 6 months

In addition, the property must also meet three of the nine criteria of blight, which include:

  • The building or structure is a public nuisance.
  • The building is in need of substantial rehabilitation and no rehabilitation has taken place during the previous 12 months.
  • The building is unfit for human habitation, occupancy, or use.
  • The condition and vacancy of the building materially increases the risk of fire to the building and to adjacent properties.
  • The building is subject to unauthorized entry leading to potential health and safety hazards, and one of the following applies:
    • The owner has failed to take reasonable and necessary measures to secure the building.
    • The municipality has secured the building in order to prevent such hazards after the owner has failed to do so.
  • The property is an attractive nuisance to children, as evidenced by (but not limited to), the presence of abandoned wells, shafts, basements, excavations, and unsafe structures.
  • The presence of vermin or the accumulation of debris, uncut vegetation or physical deterioration of the structure or grounds have created potential health and safety hazards, and the owner has failed to take reasonable and necessary measures to remove the hazards.
  • The dilapidated appearance or other condition of the building negatively affects the economic well-being of residents and businesses in close proximity to the building, resulting in decreases in property value and loss of business, and the owner has failed to take reasonable and necessary measures to remedy the appearance or the condition of the property.
  • The property is an attractive nuisance for illicit purposes, including prostitution, drug use and vagrancy.

We Need Your Support

Your donation will help us continue to improve the neighborhoods in your city by helping to provide low-income residents with opportunities to repair or sell blighted properties.