Blight/Vacant Property

Hundreds of thousands of blighted or abandoned buildings are spread across Pennsylvania, impeding community and economic development programs and conveying images of old, worn out communities.

At the Housing Alliance, we see these properties in our communities not as the eyesores they are today, but as untapped assets that provide land for redevelopment. Abandoned land, when transformed into productive re-use, is a critical opportunity for our older communities to modernize, revitalize, and grow, and to improve the quality of life for neighbors who are already there.

While addressing blight is a local concern, the solutions are largely enabled by state law. Over the past several years the Pennsylvania General Assembly, in response to demand by local communities, has begun to modernize antiquated laws that stand in the way of local efforts. New individual laws are beginning to weave a policy infrastructure to transform blighted and abandoned property into quality homes people can afford, gardens and farms for fresh food, new businesses and industries that create local jobs. 

Conservatorship Clearinghouse

Conservatorship is Pennsylvania's latest legislative tool for reclaiming abandoned property. It involves the appointment of a third party to take possession and control of a property in order to make repairs and return the property to productive use. The conservator is appointed by the court after a formal process and hearing, including notice to the owner and lien holders. It allows a property to be salvaged when the owner is not able or willing to step forward to make the necessary repairs.

Municipalities and organizations across the Commonwealth are learning to use this new law to fight blight in their communities, and the Housing Alliance is here to help. If you have news on Conservatorship efforts in your community, or questions about its use, please contact us at


Resources for Blight/Vacant Property

A crash course in Tax Foreclosure Reform 101

The connection between tax foreclosure reform and neighborhood revitalization.
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Pittsburgh City Council endorses land bank proposal

The new bill includes provisions for council approval for at least two years, broadens community input and expands the governing board.
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Guidelines released for Pennsylvania's Historic Preservation Tax Credit

The Historic Preservation Tax Credit (HPTC) provides tax credits to qualified taxpayers who will be completing the restoration of a qualified historic structure into an-income producing property.
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40 towns join forces to create land bank

Analysis shows blight is costly for municipalities in county
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Federal block grant dollars decrease for Erie

Federal block grant money continues to diminish for the city of Erie, and local social service agencies will soon be feeling the brunt of the cuts.
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A land bank would strengthen neighborhoods

A land bank for Pittsburgh will strengthen market activity in hard-pressed communities, engage their residents in charting the future and add value in many instances where it has been lost.
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