DiSanto Bill to Combat Blight Sent to Governor

Harrisburg – Legislation introduced by State Senator John DiSanto (Dauphin/Perry) to equip municipalities with a better enforcement mechanism to crack down on abandoned and dilapidated properties was approved unanimously by the Senate today with House amendments and is now on its way to the Governor’s desk. The Governor has ten days to act on the bill.

Senate Bill 940 enables municipalities to issue condemnation orders on properties that are unfit for human habitation and structurally dangerous to adjacent properties and neighboring residents. Municipalities may file a condemnation order against these non-compliant properties with the county recorder of deeds office and demand corrective action. The order is to be considered a lien on the property and its validity would not be impacted by upset, judiciary, or repository sale of the property. 

“My legislation corrects a major deficiency in current law that limits condemnation orders to a specific owner, not the property,” said DiSanto. “As a result, anytime a condemned property’s ownership changes hands, local officials must expend significant time repeating their code enforcement process.”

City of Harrisburg Codes Administrator Dave Patton said, “The passage of this legislation is a major step in tax sale reform. Condemned properties subject to tax sale represent a major contributor to blight in the Commonwealth and specifically from my experience as Codes Administrator for the City of Harrisburg for the past 25 years.” He added, “Mayor Papenfuse and myself are honored by Senators DiSanto’s and Argall’s dedication to contribute to the eradication of blight and extend our thanks on behalf of the City of Harrisburg.”

Senate Bill 940 also received the support of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs, and the Statewide Blight Task Force.

CONTACT: Chuck Erdman cerdman@pasen.gov (717) 787-6801