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Understanding Act 135 in Pennsylvania

The Abandoned and Blighted Property Conservatorship Act, also known as Act 135, was put in place to ensure that residents and property owners in a community are able to report substandard or abandoned buildings in order to prevent potential risks or hazards. If there is a blighted or abandoned building in your community, you are within your rights to take legal action to mitigate risks and protect your well-being.

Vacant and abandoned properties are often associated with increased rates of crime, fire risks, and declining property values. Between 2005 and 2016, housing units that are considered temporarily vacant increased by more than 50 percent from 3.7 million to 5.8 million.

At Richard L. Vanderslice, P.C., we are dedicated to providing outstanding legal services. As knowledgeable real estate attorneys in Pennsylvania, we can fight to protect your rights and your safety. Our attorneys are committed to upholding the provisions of Act 135 and strengthening the well-being of our beloved communities.

Richard L. Vanderslice, P.C. proudly serves clients in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the surrounding communities of Philadelphia County, Montgomery County, and Delaware County.

Summary of Act 135

Act 135 makes it possible for certain residents, businesses, and nonprofit organizations (referred to as “party in interest”) to address any residential, business, or commercial property within the community that has been abandoned or neglected and is adversely affecting the local community.

Pennsylvania's older communities are important to the state's economic health, quality of life, rich history, and diverse communities. However, many of these older neighborhoods suffer from damaged properties that have been abandoned by their owners. Not only does this create a public safety hazard and nuisance, but it can also greatly diminish the property value of the community as a whole.

Through Act 135, a party in interest can petition the Court to appoint a conservator to take control of a blighted, substandard, or abandoned property, and carry out necessary repairs. The conservator will ensure that the property returns to a relatively safe and functional state and that it is put to productive use.

The appointed conservator will then become the property’s virtual owner. He or she will have the power and responsibility to renovate and sell the property. Once the property is sold, the cost of conservatorship and the property renovation will be deducted.


According to Act 135, a conservatorship is a legal concept whereby the Court appoints an individual or entity to take control of a blighted, substandard, or abandoned property, and carry out necessary repairs.

Conditions for Conservatorship

In response to a filed petition the Court may appoint a conservator provided all of the following applies as of the date of filing:

  • The building has not been legally occupied during the past twelve (12) months.

  • The property owner fails to present compelling evidence that he has actively marketed the property during the past sixty (60) days.

  • The property is not subject to an imminent foreclosure action by an individual or nongovernmental entity.

  • The present owner fails to provide sufficient evidence that the property was acquired within the past six months.

  • The Court finds that the building is a public nuisance, needs substantial rehabilitation, unfit for human habitation, and constitutes potential health and safety hazards.

Conservatorship Appointment

The Act allows the Court to appoint:

  • An individual or entity recommended by the petitioner, or

  • The most senior lienholder, to whom first consideration is given.

However, preference will be given to governmental units and nonprofits organizations with previous rehabilitation experience.

How Legal Counsel Can Help

Abandoned and blighted properties adversely affect public health and safety by attracting criminal activity, exposing children and residents to harm, and posing fire hazards. If there is a substandard or abandoned building within your community, you should retain an experienced real estate attorney as soon as possible.

For more than 40 years, our attorneys at Richard L. Vanderslice, P.C., have represented clients in numerous real estate and Act 135 conservatorship matters. Our team of attorneys will investigate the situation, carry out due diligence, and help you file a petition. We will represent your best interest and pursue a conservatorship appointment.

Act 135 Litigation Lawyer Serving Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

If you are concerned about an abandoned or blighted building within your community, call Richard L. Vanderslice, P.C. today to schedule a consultation. Our attorneys will offer you their unwavering dedication and guide you through your Act 135 petition. Based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, we are proud to represent clients throughout Philadelphia County, Montgomery County, and Delaware County. Call us today to speak with an experienced Act 135 litigation attorney.