The Abandoned and Blighted Property Conservatorship Act, also known as Act 135, was enacted on November 26, 2008. This legislation was put into place to ensure residents and property owners in a community can report substandard or abandoned buildings to call attention to and prevent potential risks or hazards. Property that is being treated negligently in the community can harm everyone that surrounds it. For example, there is a greater potential for crime or decreased property value in the area where the property is forgotten.
Through Act 135, any party in interest can make a claim to the court to have a conservator take over the blighted property and carry out the essential repairs it requires. The conservator's goal is to maintain the property and restore it to its original state or make it functional. The Act states that the conservator will be authorized to sell the premises unless reclaimed by the owner. The cost of the conservatorship and the rehabilitation of the property are deducted from the sale of the property.
Who Can Be Appointed Conservator of a Property?
In most cases, a conservator is a third-party person who is appointed by the court. A conservator can be a senior lienholder, a non-profit corporation, a governmental unit, or an individual.
Who Can Be an Act 135 Petitioner?
A party that has a direct and immediate interest in blighted buildings can include:
- The owner
- A lienholder
- A resident or business owner within 500 ft. of the property
- A nonprofit located in a municipality
- A municipality or school district
What Conditions Must the Property Be In to Get Placed Under Conservatorship?
All the following conditions must apply for a property to be placed under conservatorship:
- It has not been legally occupied for 12 months
- It has not been marketed for 60 days
- There must be no foreclosure action being taken
- The current owner has been the owner for longer than 6 months
Additionally, 3 of the following must also apply to the property:
- It is a public nuisance
- It is an active nuisance
- It needs substantial rehabilitation
- It is unfit for occupancy
- There is an increased risk of fire
- It is subject to entry
- It is not secured by the owner
- It is hazardous
- There are decreased property values
- There are illicit activities
We Are Here to Assist You
In some cases, the property owner is served with a petition under this act. If they are, they must act quickly. If action is not taken fast enough, a conservator might be appointed by default and the property owner could lose control and rights of ownership of the property.
In either case, if you need to respond to a petition you are served with to save your property from a conservatorship or you are interested in using Act 135 to take action against a blighted property in your community, then it is crucial that you have experienced and knowledgeable representation in your corner.