The timetable for nonprofit organizations to rehabilitate and sell abandoned blighted properties would be cut in half under legislation, HB 1363, approved by the state House of Representatives.

The legislation seeks to amend Act 135 of 2008, also known as the Abandoned and Blighted Property Conservatorship Act.

Among other changes, the bill would decrease the time for court action on a petition from within 120 days of receipt of the petition to 60 days to encourage delinquent owners to take action. The legislation would also require an owner to post a bond for the estimated repair costs to prevent them from stalling by promising to fix or repair the subject property.

“It holds for anyone who wants to refurbish and sell an abandoned property, but it’s really aimed at the nonprofits,” said Mark Collazzo, assistant to state Representative John Taylor, R-Philadelphia, the sponsor of the bill. “Just like in the original law, nothing here says the property can be taken from the owner, but it just allows someone to come in and try to get the property back on the tax roll and the liens off.”

Collazzo said that to prevent a property owner from avoiding a conservatorship by simply listing the property for sale, the new bill would require the owner to confirm that the property has been actively marketed, to confirm any sale price reductions and to provide an affidavit of the people to which the property was shown.

The new bill would also change the definition of party in interest (one who can file for conservatorship) from a resident or business within 500 feet of the blighted building to 2,000 feet. In addition, it aims to increase the radius to which the proposed conservator must have done work from one mile from the subject blighted property to five miles.