– Legislation that would assist municipalities in identifying the owners of blighted properties, sponsored by Rep. Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon), was approved by the House Urban Affairs Committee this week.
Specifically, House Bill 1559
would create a pre-registration requirement for potential bidders at tax sales. Any potential bidder must appear at the tax claim bureau no less than 14 days before the scheduled sale to register.
Registration requires providing contact information and a signed affidavit stating they are not delinquent in any taxes or municipal utility bills or engaged in any unsafe property management activity. The tax claim bureau then provides the list of applicants to the municipality at least 10 days prior to the sale.
“This issue was brought to my attention by local officials who identified it as a major problem for local governments that struggle with blight,” said Heffley. “Absentee landlords and slumlords from out of state often buy up distressed properties and ignore local zoning citations. They hide behind a corporate veil to prevent identification and the ability of the municipality to hold them accountable for these blighted properties.”
House Bill 1559, which is a priority for the bicameral bipartisan Statewide Blight Task Force, will next be considered by the full House.
Representative Doyle Heffley
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Andy Briggs