Blighted Property Conservatorship Attorney Pittsburgh
Real estate in Pittsburgh is always a good investment. The town, once known for its steel mills, is known today for its thriving art scene, beautiful architecture, and many bridges. It is adjacent to the Appalachian Trail and it is surrounded by beautiful mountains and rivers.
Unfortunately, some properties are uncared for. Homes and buildings that have been abandoned or improperly maintained create a public nuisance. These properties are called “blighted.” Vacant lots can also be considered blighted property.
Not only are these homes an eyesore, but they can also be dangerous. In many cases, they will attract vagrants and drug dealers. People will often be afraid to patronize businesses that are in areas with blighted properties.
Having these kinds of properties in a residential neighborhood can drive down the value of the homes. Community organizations will often have to fight to get blighted properties demolished. Unfortunately, taxpayers end up having to pay for the demolition. It is often more cost-effective to find a conservator for a blighted property in a neighborhood.
What are the Duties of a Conservator?
A conservator will be in charge of every element of rehabilitation of a blighted property. They must bring the property up to code and make sure that it can be sold or that it can be of benefit to the community.
Some organizations give grants for rehabilitating blighted properties. Conservatorship benefits both the conservator and the community.
How Do You Get Conservatorship of a Blighted Property?
Acquiring a conservatorship takes months and involves filling out a lot of paperwork. It is important to work with a trained property attorney when you go through this process. The attorneys at Stoner Law have years of experience in dealing with all kinds of Pittsburgh real estate issues. They can help you attain the properties you want.
Who Can Be A Conservator?
Both individuals and entities can apply to be a conservator of a property. The owner can apply for a conservatorship as can a lien holder. School districts and non-profit organizations will often have priority when obtaining a conservatorship of a blighted property.
There are several steps you should take before petitioning for a conservatorship.
- Contact The Offices of Stoner Law
Obtaining a conservatorship requires plenty of research, Tons of paperwork, and attention to detail. It also requires an advanced knowledge of property law in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Our attorneys can walk you through the process of getting a conservatorship. They are aware of all of the problems that can arise during the petitioning process.
- Research the Property
When you hire us, we will thoroughly research the property. We will begin by doing a title search. The title will tell us who, if anyone owns the property and what its parameters are. It will also tell us if the property has liens on it.
We will also look for evidence that the property is a public nuisance. Although a property may look bad, it will not be considered an actual nuisance unless it:
- Pollutes waterways
- Interferes with access to public parks
- Creates a public health hazard.
A property that is established as a public nuisance will be considered blighted if:
- The owner did not purchase the property within the last 6 months
- No one has lived in it for 12 months
- No one has tried to sell it in the last 2 months.
- It is not in the process of being foreclosed upon.
Petition the Courts for a Conservatorship
When you want to become the conservator of a property or appoint a conservator, you will have to file a petition for conservatorship with the courts. You can file in a court that is in the same county as the property.
The petition asks for information about the property and the proposed conservator. You will list the name, address, and social security number EIN number of the proposed conservator.
It is a good idea to run a credit report and criminal background check on the proposed conservator to establish financial solvency and trustworthiness. They will want to see any approvals for loans and grants that have been attained for the property.
A sworn statement must be signed in which the petitioner will swear that the property is blighted by legal definition.
Supporting documentation is also necessary. This should include:
- Proof that city codes have been violated and that the property is a public nuisance such as citations.
- Mortgages, liens, and other encumberments on the property.
- A detailed property rehabilitation budget.
When you turn in your petition and your documentation, you will pay a fee. The court will set a hearing date. The hearing date should be within 60 days of the petition filing.
At Stoner Law, we will provide you with a Western Pennsylvania Real Estate Attorney. Our attorneys know every piece of paperwork you will need to petition for conservatorship backward and forwards. Mr. Stoner is also a Pittsburgh Foreclosure Attorney who understands laws pertaining to squatters and other stumbling blocks that can hold up the process of a conservatorship.
Owners, lienholders, and members of your community may challenge your petition. Fortunately, Daniel H. Stoner is a trained Pittsburgh Disputes and Litigation Attorney. He can negotiate with any other interested parties and their attorneys for you on your behalf. He can also represent you at your hearing.
Notifying Interested Parties
Taking over a property is a big deal. There are often other people and entities who will have a legitimate legal interest in the property for which you want to appoint a conservator.
A petitioner will have to fill out a Lis Pendens, which is a formal notification of an intent to take legal action on a property. The owner and lienholder must be notified of the proposed conservatorship. In some cases, the court may require you to notify other parties.
The Lis Pendens must be sent by certified mail to the last known address of whomever you are sending it to. If the certified letter is refused, you can send the document in the regular mail.
A hearing will be set for the proposed conservatorship. You must notify the owner and lien holders of the property of the hearing date as well.
You will have the opportunity to present all of the evidence you have. The judge may raise any concerns they have about the petition. The owner or lienholders, or any other interested person may appear at this hearing if they would like to challenge the conservatorship.
The owner will often be given a chance to get their property up to code before an actual conservatorship is granted. They will have to post a bond in the amount of the petitioner’s preliminary budget in order to do this.
The trained attorneys at Stoner Law will be by your side at your hearing. We have assisted our clients with many successful conservatorship petitions over the years.
If the court grants you the conservatorship, you will be given access to the property for the next 90 days. A hearing will be set for 120 days out. You will be expected to have a final budget by this time.
Stoner Law is staffed with lawyers, paralegals, and legal assistants who are committed to getting you a conservatorship on the property you want.
If you plan to rent the property out, we can provide a landlord and tenant lawyer. Give us a call today.