The Pennsylvania House Urban Affairs Committee recently approved legislation intended to give municipalities and others more power to deal with blighted and abandoned properties. The legislation, House Bill 2188, would provide a way for municipalities, lien holders or other interested parties to petition the courts for the appointment of conservators to take control of and rehabilitate blighted or abandoned properties. In addition to municipalities and lien holder, the interested parties could include school districts, residents, or business owners within 500 feet of an abandoned building.

The conservator could make necessary repairs and sell the building if the owner does not petition to regain possession or reimburse for all costs. Conservators would be exempt from the repayment of debts incurred by the previous owner or any damage to the property that existed prior to their appointment as conservator.