HARRISBURG, Pa. - New legislation aimed at fighting blighted properties is set to become law in Pennsylvania.
The bill was introduced by Republican state Rep. Doyle Heffley, of Carbon County.
"We have large, abandoned buildings and a lot of times those buildings will sit and eventually wind up on the tax rolls and then go out for a sheriff's sale or a tax sale," said Heffley (R-122nd district).
Gov. Tom Wolf signed Act 33, formerly known as House Bill 264, into law.
The law will require tax sale participants to register beforehand, which Heffley said will make it easier for municipalities to identify the owners of blighted properties quicker.
Heffley said companies are buying up blighted properties, many of them are LLC corporations that only have a P.O. box.
"A lot of the time they're in New Jersey or Maryland or New York and then they don't come in, they don't fix up the property and the boroughs and the municipalities spend a lot of money tracing down who owns the property, sight them for code violations," said Heffley.
He said the impact is felt beyond the blighted properties.
"It's decreasing property values, so what this bill will do is it will require that they pre-register, so if they want to purchase a property at a sherriff's sale they pre-register. Right now, all the verification being done is being done after the sale of the property," said Heffley.
The law will require anyone who is trying to purchase the property to be pre-registered 10 days in advance.
"It's really going to help relieve the stress on those local municipalities and hopefully get these blighted properties, get them refurbished or torn down so we can redevelop these communities," said Heffley.
The law will take effect in a little less than two months.