Bill to Lower Foreclosure Process Gains Momentum

Updated 6/19/18: PA HB 653 has been approved by Governor Tom Wolf.

Link to bill

Updated 6/12/18:  PA HB 653 has been signed in the Senate and presented to the Governor.

Link to bill 

Legislation Update
January 29, 2018

HARRISBURG — A House-passed bill to speed up the foreclosure process for abandoned property is gaining traction in the Senate.

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday approved House Bill 653, which provides guidelines and timetables for municipal code officers, courts and lenders to get abandoned properties ready for sheriffs’ sales.

The bill heads to the Senate floor where an agreed-to amendment will be offered.

This amendment will address issues concerning the legal definition of abandoned property, said Sen. Sharif Street, D-Philadelphia.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Kurt Masser, R-Northumberland, aims to shorten a foreclosure process that can now take between 300 days and 540 days to one lasting 240 days. Foreclosure occurs when lenders seize a property because owners can’t keep up with mortgage payments.

It would apply to property that meets criteria for being vacant and abandoned and for which a lender has given notice of a delinquent or defaulted obligation. The criteria currently include the property being vacant at the time of two municipal inspections 45 days apart and officials getting no response to a notice posted on the property for the owner to contact a code enforcement officer.

Under the bill, municipal code officers or judges would have authority to certify a property as vacant or abandoned before an expedited foreclosure could take place.

Once certification takes place, a sheriff could schedule a sale on that property within 60 days following the filing of a writ of execution.

Masser’s legislation is the product of a bipartisan task force of lawmakers who have won passage of a number of anti-blight laws during the past decade. One goal of the task force is to restore derelict and abandoned property to productive use.

Source: Altoona Mirror

Additional Resources:

Pennsylvania General Assembly (HB 653 full text)

Safeguard Properties Fast-Track Legislation Resource Center

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