On April 25, 2011, the Neighborhood Blight Reclamation and Revitalization Act, approved on October 27, 2010, became effective. The Act grants municipalities two primary tools to prosecute derelict owners of real estate in Pennsylvania and force owners to correct serious code violations and public nuisances.
The first tool is the right to sue the owner (in addition to all other rights municipalities currently have against owners) if a serious violation of any state law or building code exists and that violation poses an imminent health and safety threat. Before an action can be brought, the municipality must notify the owner of such violation or public nuisance. If the owner fails to take a substantial step to correct this violation within six months, the municipality may sue the owner. Any judgment may be entered as a lien against all of the assets of the owner, not just the subject real estate.
The second primary tool is the power to reject applications for municipal permits, including building permits and zoning approvals, if the applicant owns property in any municipality, and with regard to any such property, if any of the following conditions exist: (1) there is a final and unappealable tax, water, sewer or refuse collection delinquency, or (2) there is a serious code violation for which the owner has failed to take a substantial step to remedy the problem within six months of notice of such violation.