The streets of Philadelphia are filled with history. No matter what neighborhood you take a walk in, you will see historic buildings and plaques describing the history of the area. If you walk through the neighborhoods, you will see homes that have been there for hundreds of years in several different architectural styles.
Unfortunately, some of those properties have no one to take care of them. They become dilapidated over time and they become a nuisance to the communities that they are in.
Dangerous or abandoned buildings are called blighted properties. The term also applies to vacant lots and abandoned buildings. These properties can make the value of the homes around them depreciate. Blighted properties can attract drug dealers and squatters.
Communities rely on people to take over these buildings and rehabilitate them. If a property is not brought up to code, it will have to be torn down at the expense of the taxpayers. Hence, when an owner of a blighted property is unable or unwilling to take care of that property, a conservator will be appointed by the court.
What Does a Conservator of a Blighted Property Do?
The conservator of a property will be responsible for rehabilitating a blighted property to the point where it can be sold or of benefit to the community around it.
A conservator can be an individual or an entity. The property owner can be the conservator in some cases. Conservatorship can be granted to a lien holder as well. A group of business owners that are located within 2,000 feet of the property can be appointed to a conservatorship as can non-profits and school districts.
To become a conservator of a property, a person or entity must be able to secure the funds to rehabilitate a property. They may do this by getting a loan or grant.
If you are interested in becoming the conservator of a blighted property, you will need a real estate attorney in Philadelphia with years of experience in real estate law. The attorneys at Stoner Law can walk you through the process of requesting conservatorship so you can save a blighted property.
There are a few things you should know about the rules of obtaining one of these properties before you give our office a call.
When Is a Property Considered Blighted?
Several circumstances must exist for a house or building to be considered blighted.
- No one has occupied the property in at least 12 months.
- The property is not under foreclosure.
- No one may have tried to sell the property for the last 60 days.
- The property has code violations and is considered a public nuisance.
- The person who owns the property has owned it for six months or longer.
Petition for Conservatorship
The first step in becoming the conservator of a property or appointing a conservator is to file a petition for conservatorship with a court in the county where the blighted property is located.
The petition form will ask for basic information about the petitioner, the proposed conservator, and the property.
You will have to sign a sworn statement declaring that the property meets all of the requirements for a blighted property to the best of your knowledge.
You must include several documents along with the petition. They will include:
- Citations that state the property violates city codes.
- Citations stating that the property is a public nuisance.
- A form recommending an entity or individual to be the conservator.
- A list of any encumberments on the property such as mortgages or liens.
- A detailed plan for the property rehabilitation. This should include a preliminary budget. You will have to state how this budget will be acquired.
Notification of the Petition
The petitioner will have to notify anyone who might have an interest in the property of the fact that a conservatorship is being requested.
You will have to fill out a form called a Lis pendens with the court. This is a formal notice of impending legal action on a property. You will have to notify the owner and any lienholders of the petition. You must do this by sending a certified letter to the last post office address that you have for them.
The owner might refuse the certified letter. If they do this, you are within your rights to simply send them another letter by regular mail.
Why a Real Estate Lawyer Will Help
Whenever you are dealing with a business transaction that requires a lot of paperwork, it is extremely important to have a lawyer look over everything. If you make a mistake on that paperwork, you may have to start the petition all over again.
When you file a petition for anything with the Pennsylvania courts, you are going to have to pay a fee. If you have to redo your petition for conservatorship, you will have to pay a second fee. This can be extremely costly and time-consuming.
Our attorneys are well-versed in Philadelphia real estate law. They have filled out the required forms many times and they will be able to advise you of any problems that may arise. They will make sure that your paperwork is perfect before it is turned in to the court.
When you seek a conservatorship, you will have to have a hearing. In addition to notifying the owner and lien holders of The petition itself, you will have to notify them of the hearing as well. The hearing will be set within 60 days of the petition.
A person with an interest in the property may intervene before or during the hearing. They can present any evidence that they have to the court regarding the property. In many cases, an owner will object To the petition. The court may allow them a certain amount of time to bring their property up to code. The owner will have to post a bond for the restoration budget that the petitioner estimated in their initial plan.
At the hearing itself, the petitioner will present the court with all the evidence that they have regarding the property. They will state their intentions to revive the property and they will explain how they intend to go about doing that. They will also explain how they will pay for it.
Stoner Law can provide you with a disputes and litigation attorney If there are any discrepancies between you and a property owner or lienholder during a conservatorship petition.
Appointing a Conservator
If the court approves the conservatorship, The conservator will have to make a final plan for reviving the property. They will have access to the property for 90 days after their appointment. They will have another hearing 120 days after they are granted the conservatorship. At this hearing, they must present a final plan for revitalizing the property.
Why You Should Hire Us
The attorneys at Stoner Law have experience in every area of real estate law. In addition to handling blighted property law, Daniel Stoner is an experienced Philadelphia foreclosure lawyer and landlord and tenant lawyer.
Our team will thoroughly research the property you wish to attain conservatorship of. We will make sure everything on your petition is correct and represent you at both of your hearings. Give us a call today.