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

Sewickley Township votes to join land bank

Sewickley Township has joined a growing list of municipalities participating in a new Westmoreland County land bank program designed to return blighted buildings burdened with liens and unpaid taxes to the tax rolls.
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A diverse coalition made Philadelphia's groundbreaking land bank a reality

When you have developers, urban farmers, CDCs, food access experts and low-income housing advocates working together, you know something unprecedented is underway.
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Funds available for Brownfield assistance

The EPA has announced availability of funds to communities facing brownfield cleanup and revitalization challenges.
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Harrisburg mayor launches fight on blight

Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse says he will keep his campaign promise to crack down on blight and property owners who are breaking the law.

Dravosburg officials ponder land banking developments

Dravosburg officials are getting behind land banking research and program development initiated by regional councils of governments.
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NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman Takes On Decaying "Zombie" Properties

The attorney general announced to the state Conference of Mayors that he is preparing a bill to deal with the problem by making the lenders responsible for delinquent properties soon after they are abandoned.
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Federal incentives for community redevelopment offset costs through increased tax revenue

NDC analyzed federal statistics on five tax credit and loan guarantee programs. They found that federal incentives for community revitalization produce enough local, state, and federal tax revenue to more than offset their cost.
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