New Analysis Reveals Discriminatory Impact of Property Conservatorships
A recent analysis conducted by the Advocacy for Racial and Civil Justice Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania has shed light on the discriminatory impact of property conservatorships in Philadelphia. The analysis found that petitions for property conservatorship, which allow nonprofits to take control of abandoned properties, were disproportionately filed against Black and Asian American property owners. Furthermore, these petitions were often filed in areas at high risk of gentrification, exacerbating the displacement of vulnerable communities.
The analysis focused on Act 135, a Pennsylvania law passed in 2008 that enables nonprofit organizations to take over abandoned properties, bring them up to code, and sell them for a substantial fee. While the law was intended to benefit communities and prevent blight, it has instead been used to exploit and displace property owners. Nonprofit organizations have filed over 570 petitions for property conservatorship in Philadelphia alone.
One of the key findings of the analysis was the financial burden placed on property owners who are unable to afford repairs. When a property is sold through conservatorship, the conservator can recover all legal fees, repair costs, and a fee worth up to 20% of the sale price. This often leaves property owners with nothing, even if they are able to keep their properties after fighting the conservatorship in court.
The analysis also revealed the financial incentive for conservators, as they can profit from selling the properties they take control of. This financial motive raises concerns about the true intentions behind some conservatorship filings and whether nonprofit organizations are prioritizing community development or personal gain.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is Act 135?
Act 135 is a Pennsylvania law that allows nonprofit organizations to take control of abandoned properties, bring them up to code, and sell them for a fee.
Who is being disproportionately affected by property conservatorships?
According to the recent analysis, Black and Asian American property owners are disproportionately affected by property conservatorships.
What is the financial burden placed on property owners?
Property owners who are unable to afford repairs can be left with nothing when their properties are sold through conservatorship. Conservators can recover all legal fees, repair costs, and a fee worth up to 20% of the sale price.
Are nonprofit organizations prioritizing community development?
There are concerns about whether some nonprofit organizations are prioritizing community development or personal gain when filing for property conservatorship.