– Rep. Tim Twardzik (R-Schuylkill) is pleased to announce his bill, which will allow municipalities to create a blighted and vacant property registration program and impose penalties on those in violation, has successfully passed the state House.
Under House Bill 775
, a municipality may impose and collect, by ordinance, a vacant and blighted property registration fee. Municipalities implementing a blighted and vacant property registration program would establish a process for removal of properties from the registry and disclose that process to the owner.
“Blight is a problem that affects every community across this Commonwealth, both rural and urban. It’s not a Republican issue, or a Democratic issue. It devalues neighbor’s properties, increases neighborhood crime, and poses health and safety risks. In my area, this is a fight we know too well,” Twardzik said. “The bill concept comes from the statewide blight tour a House committee took last session, which included a stop in my district and feedback from those at the forefront of the fight.”
Registration fees would be imposed on the owner of the vacant and blighted property annually at the following amounts:
• $500 one year from the date on which the property was listed.
• $1,000 two years from the date on which the property was listed.
• $2,000 three and four years from the date on which the property was listed.
• $3,500 five through eight years from the date on which the property was listed.
• $5,000 nine or more years from the date on which the property was listed.
The bill outlines further penalties for a homeowner who fails to pay the registration fees. If the property is brought into compliance within 12 months or sold to an entity that brings the property into compliance, the fee would be waived. Properties owned by the state or federal government, a county, municipality, redevelopment authority, housing authority or land bank would be exempt from registration fees.
Further exemptions include:
• A property under active construction, rehabilitation, renovation or repair.
• A property in compliance with all federal, state and local laws and the owner is seeking in good faith to rent or sell the property.
• A property with a homeowner who has economic hardship and is working with the municipality to bring the property into compliance.
• A property owned by a member of the United States military on active duty if the property is in compliance with all federal, state and local codes.
House Bill 775 now goes to the Senate for consideration.