Resolution Supporting the Establishment of Conservatorships to Rehabilitate Abandoned and Blighted Property

WHEREAS, the Philadelphia Bar Association has a strong history of supporting legislation in Pennsylvania which would reduce blight and encourage responsible real estate development;

WHEREAS, data provided by the 2000 U. S. Census revealed that there are more than 60,000 vacant properties in the City of Philadelphia (“City”), including 2,000 vacant commercial building and 27,000 vacant homes, or 10% of all residences in the City;

WHEREAS, abandoned properties pose a continuing financial burden on local governments, negatively impact the values of neighboring properties, threaten the public safety, and contribute to urban blight and community disinvestment;

WHEREAS, Pennsylvania House Bill No. 2188, Printers Number 3126 would provide for court-appointed conservators to bring residential, commercial and industrial buildings into municipal code compliance in accordance with a plan submitted to the court, where the court determines the conditions meet the statutory requirements that justify appointment of a conservator;

WHEREAS, the proposed legislation further provides adequate notice and the opportunity to be heard so that the property owner, creditors, neighbors, the local government, and other interested parties have the opportunity to participate in the court proceedings prior to the appointment of a conservator;

WHEREAS, the activities of the conservator will be monitored by the court and any expenses incurred to repair the building will be imposed as a lien on the property, so that if and when the court authorizes the conservator to sell the property, all municipal liens and expenses will be recouped in accordance with a statutory order of priorities;

WHEREAS, the establishment of such conservatorships will help preserve older communities and will strengthen the real estate tax base in Pennsylvania.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Philadelphia Bar Association Board of Governors supports House Bill 2188, Printers Number 3126, or similar legislation.

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Chancellor is authorized to take whatever steps are deemed necessary to communicate the views of the Philadelphia Bar Association to the appropriate members of the General Assembly and to the Governor, and to otherwise effectuate this resolution.