Vacant House Next Door
Hi everyone, the house next door has been vacant for the past few years. I know that some drug addicts lived there before and they didn't pay their bills so they got cut off at some point and they moved somewhere else. The previous owner of my house was trying to push it to the Sheriffs auction but I guess the owner would always make an agreement before the actual auction. The same thing just happened to me 3 weeks ago. I pushed the house to Sheriffs last year in summer time with intention to buy it and improve its condition. They are delinquent on property taxes every year so it was easy to file the paperwork. Then I was complaining to L&I about the condition of the house and broken windows, bugs, rats etc. They came one day and they cleaned the property and they also board the windows and doors. That was easy, however a few weeks ago, 4 days before the schedule auction, I received a letter from the Department of Revenue saying that the owner made an agreement with them and the house stays. I understand that the owner actually promised to throw them some money and it was sufficient for them to get it out of the auction. What I've noticed on the opa.phila.gov page, they had been making agreements with the city almost every year for the past few years. It probably means they that promise to pay and they don't. My problem is that the property is in terrible condition. I was trying to contact the owner and offer him cash for the house but with no luck. My intention is to buy it but I don't know if there is any other way than the Department of Revenue. If L&I cleaned the property they must of sent the owner the bill. What if he doesn't pay? Is there any way to push the house to the Sheriffs auction through another department?
Make a well-documented, impassioned plea to your councilperson and/or his or her community relations person. Include photos, L&I violations (look them up on phila.gov/li), and personal testimony expressing how it is affecting your (and your neighbors') quality of life. Of course it depends who your councilperson is, but they can quickly overcome red tape to get long term nuisance properties pushed to sheriff's sale.
Failing that, if you're really committed to improving that property, you may want to look into conservatorship. Based on your description, it probably qualifies, and you as a next door neighbor would have a good chance of being appointed the conservator. At the very least, the owner would have to appear in court and promise to address violations and post bond for repair costs. It would be a lot of work on your part and a probably a year of your time.
I second the mule's call for conservatorship. If you don't want to do it yourself (although as a neighbor, you can gain conservatorship), I know that Scioli Turco does it in South Philly. I'm not sure if they've expanded their operation to other neighborhoods, but it couldn't hurt to get into contact with them.
Scioli Turco | Making Philadelphia better, one property at a time
The property is in a payment agreement so this will be a tough one. The owner can make all sorts of lame excuses that a CP judge will buy (I'm trying to fix it, I have a medical condition and my expenses are a lot, etc...)
See: the Bryne House in Germantown. Each time the judge threatens to move on stripping the deed he makes a slight fix, then more court proceedings happen where the judge demands the rest get fixed. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Act 135 is probably the best option. It throws a huge curveball to the property owner because now they'll be faced with fighting a very expensive legal case and if they ignore it; they lose complete control over the property and are also blocked from selling it if you win over conservatorship (they can't sell it without your consent and after paying all your expenses).
Thank you everyone for the answers. I was working on the list of the violations that I found on the city website to present to you but there is another urgent thing about the house next door that I want to talk about. My gf met somebody from the city looking at the house today. He said something about the court and said that the house will be on the website within a week. I don't know what it means but she was in rush and she didn't ask him for any details and the department that he worked for. Does it make any sense to you guys? What website would it be on and why?
You can also check the list of violations that I found here: http://www.housecroatia.com/cases/violations.pdf
Are you transmitting from Croatia?
Originally Posted by maykino
No, it's just one of my domains and I didn't know how to post the actual pdf in any other way. The forum doesn't allow to upload files
Scioli Turco Act 135 Conservancy
Scioli Turco does indeed work throughout Philadelphia (two (2) new projects underway in Bridesburg and Mayfair). We can and do partner with neighbors and civic associations to address blighted properties and rehabilitate them to a high standard. Please check out our web page at scioliturco.org or our Facebook page "Scioli Turco" or call us at 215 574 5050. Thank you
Originally Posted by tsarstruck