Contract Opportunity w/ City of Phila - Sequestration (aka Receivership)

To support critical City and School services for residents and businesses, the City is reviving the Sequestration program that was last employed in the 1990s. With this program, tax delinquent properties that fail to meet their obligations will have their rental income seized to repay debts to City and School District.

For access to all related documents, see instructions at the end of this email.

In a process similar to mortgage receivership, the Sequestrator, appointed by the court on petition of the City, will collect rent and pay expenses, including repairs, all taxes, and other expenses (including those of the Sequestrator); and can evict tenants within 15-30 days and lease to new ones.  Owners of commercial properties will have 15 days to reach agreement with the Sequestrator for payment of all obligations due the City and School District. After 15 days, the Sequestrator can take all necessary action including evicting tenants and leasing to new ones. Owners of residential property will have 30 days to effect an agreement.

The City has issued a request for proposals for Sequestrators (a statutory form of receivership specifically enacted for the City of Philadelphia) to pre-qualify individuals, organizations, or businesses, including but not limited to, law firms and property management firms, that would be willing and able to serve as Sequestrator. The court, not the City, appoints theSequestrator, however we intend to nominate only the best applicants that submit timely proposals in response to this RFP.

This program leads to a speedier collection of delinquent taxes for the City and School District. We hope that you review the RFP and pass it along to anyone that may be interested in partnering with us in the program.

Contact Info

To review the RFP and appendices, visit: Search "New Contract Opportunities" (link on upper left of page) and sort for the Revenue Department contracts, it is opportunity #21130529095942. Proposals are due on June 28th and must be submitted online. There will be an opportunity to submit questions via writing and a mandatory pre-proposal meeting on June 18th.

Hot Topics

Updated information from the Department of Licenses and Inspections

Legislative Update

  • SB 726, proposed revision to the PA Mechanics' Lien Law, for new definition of residential properties. It would exclude a three story home with a basement.

  • Pennsylvania's Uniform Environmental Covenants Act (UECA), became effective on February 19, 2008.

  • Philadelphia Zoning Reform [in the planning stage, not enacted]: Learn about SmartCode zoning here and here.

  • Two recent eminent domain decisions of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court:

    1. A Condemnation Proceeding in Rem by the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Philadelphia (Appeal of Mary Smith), 938 A.2d 341, 2007 Pa. LEXIS 2894 (Pa. December 27, 2007), affirming in part and reversing and remanding in part, 891 A.2d 820 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2006). Property owner files preliminary objections challenging declaration of taking of the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Philadelphia; PA Supreme Court holds that the taking of private property certified as blighted for conveyance to a developer that is a religious organization did not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution under the facts of the case and reverses the decision of the Commonwealth Court, which had reversed the trial court's determination that the taking was lawful.

    2. Middletown Township v. Lands of Joseph Seegar Stone, ___A.2d.___, 2007 Pa. LEXIS 2891 (Pa. December 27, 2007), reversing and remanding, 882 A.2d 1066 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2005). Pretextual purpose case; administrator of decedent's estate files preliminary objections challenging declaration of taking of Middletown Township condemning a farm for recreational and open space purposes; PA Supreme Court rules that a second class township has the authority to condemn for recreational purposes under the Second Class Township Code, even if it lacks authority under the Open Space Lands Act to condemn for open space purposes; the factual findings of the trial court do not support the legal conclusion that the taking was for recreational purposes; Commonwealth Court erred in affirming the trial court, which abused its discretion by overruling preliminary objections to the declaration of taking.

Also: An Eminent Domain and Appraisals Handout

Be sure to check the Bar Association's Tracking Report for continued updates on state legislation.

The Real Property Section provides Association members opportunities to meet, network and share expertise with other lawyers practicing real estate and real property law. In addition, the section maintains committees allowing members to focus more specifically in the areas of buyers' bulk sales liability, condominiums and cooperatives, construction contracts, eminent domain and appraisals, financing of real estate, landlord and tenant, local government and taxation affecting real estate, title insurance, sales and settlements, and zoning and land use.

The section also offers frequent continuing legal education programs for the real estate professional as well as opportunities for cross-professional networking through its Joint Committee of Lawyers and Realtors. Section members also receive the section's quarterly newsletter highlighting issues of interest to section members.

CLE discounts available

Section members are now eligible to receive discounts for CLE programs presented by their sections under a new agreement between the Philadelphia Bar Association and the Pennsylvania Bar Institute.

The new discount program only applies to programs proposed and presented by the sections and the various committees of those sections. It does not apply to stand-alone Bar Association committees. The discount program became effective on May 1.