Pennsylvania’s legislation accelerating abandoned, vacant property foreclosure process goes into effect Dec. 19

Pennsylvania: The State’s legislation, approved June 19, accelerating the abandoned and vacant property foreclosure process, goes into effect this month, on Dec. 19.

The legislation should drastically reduce the time a property spends in the foreclosure process, thereby allowing action to occur to rehabilitate or prevent blight, by allowing a property to be certified as abandoned or vacant via judicial certification or by a municipal code officer.

Per the legislation: “In a foreclosure action, a mortgaged property certified as vacant and abandoned shall not be subject to mediation, conciliation, diversion or other program established by a local court to encourage resolution of owner-occupied residential mortgage foreclosures.”

A property may be certified abandoned or vacant by a municipal officer if at least three factors are in place: unsecured premises, damaged exterior, no personal items, utilities off, mail/postings accumulated, trash buildup, overgrown lawn, code violations, statements/reports from members of the community, safety hazards, notification by the owner of the home as vacant, and a City official has determined the property likely vacant.

Once certified, documents and notices may then be served by first class mail to the entities involved, or posted to the home in the case of no address on file.

Certification allows for an accelerated sheriff’s sale, with $500 fee payment, then a sale scheduled within 60 days following the filing of the writ of execution, and the sheriff's deed must be recorded no later than 30 days following the sale.

Certification also allows a $250 fee payment to the sheriff to execute and serve a writ of possession no later than 20 days following delivery of the writ to the sheriff; which will involve the sheriff scheduling “removal of a former owner's personal property from the mortgaged property and the securing of the personal property to be conducted no later than 30 days following the filing of the writ of execution.”



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