Real Property

Habitat for Humanity ReStore - Oct. 24, 10:15 a.m - 2:30 p.m.

Help is needed at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, located at 2318 Washington Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19146. Volunteers will be helping the ReStore staff with daily operations tasks such as moving items in and out of the store, helping customers, unloading and processing donations, organizing and cleaning the store, and completing other ongoing projects. All of your efforts will help the ReStore run effectively, efficiently, and maximize its profit in an effort to help fund the construction of Habitat's affordable homes.

Click Here to Volunteer

Philadelphia Land Bank

On March 9, 2017, Philadelphia City Council approved the Philadelphia Land Banks's 2017 Strategic Plan.
Link to Strategic Plan:

On March 2, 2017, Bill No. 170205 was introduced in City Council. The Bill amends Section 10-1000 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Fees," to exempt the Land Bank from paying City recording fees in connection with property it acquires, amends Chapter 16-700, entitled "Philadelphia Land Bank," to provide for the leasing out of Land Bank property; and amends Chapter 19-1400, entitled "Realty Transfer Tax," to exempt the Land Bank, and certain transactions involving the Land Bank, from payment of realty transfer tax; all under certain terms and conditions. The Bill was referred to the Finance Committee.


To learn how local governments and communities across PA are using conservatorship to remediate blighted properties, sign up for the Housing Alliance of PA's webinar on April 7th, from noon to 1pm. Register here:

VIP Deed Transfer Cases Seek Pro Bono Representation:

  • Homeownership/Deed Transfer – 16-0038860 (RH)

    Client, who is a senior citizen, seeks assistance with a deed transfer matter. Client's deceased aunt, the record owner of client's home, left a will leaving the property in trust to client and her children. The children have agreed to give client full title to the property. An attorney has already helped the client obtain letters testamentary and pay inheritance taxes. Client needs title to comply with a payment agreement for back real estate taxes.
    Core Competencies: Client Interviewing, Drafting

  • Homeownership/Deed Transfer – 16-0039101 (RH)

    Client seeks assistance with a deed transfer. Client’s sister wants to convey a half-interest in the property to client given client’s ongoing support at the property. An attorney is needed to help client draft and record a deed in order to go on title to the property with her sister.
    Core Competencies: Client Interviewing, Drafting

  • Homeownership/Deed Transfer – 16-0039246 (AM)

    Client seeks assistance in a deed transfer matter. Client hopes to gain title to his living sister’s home, where client resides but sister does not. Client is in danger of losing property to real estate tax foreclosure. Sister is willing to sign over title, which client must have in order to enter into a low-income payment agreement to stop the tax foreclosure. A volunteer is needed to prepare a deed giving title to client.
    Core Competencies: Client Interviewing, Drafting

  • Homeownership/Deed Transfer – 16-0039272 (IA)

    Client seeks assistance with a deed transfer. Client resides in a property titled to her father, who died intestate in 2008. Client and her two siblings are the only heirs, and both siblings are willing to transfer title to the home to client. Client has also procured letters of administration for her father's estate from both siblings. Client has been paying the mortgage since her father's death and is on a payment plan for back real estate taxes. Client seeks title to the property to qualify for home maintenance loans.
    Core Competencies: Drafting, Client Interviewing

The Real Property Section participated in a Habitat for Humanity Build day on July 20, 2016.

Event Photo

Past Section Chair Judy Berkman to be honored by Habitat For Humanity at April 26 Luncheon. Event Photo
Please see press release for further details.

OPA is seeking to improve the level of accuracy and uniformity of the assessment of the land component of the City of Philadelphia’s over 470,000 residential parcels, and on the 40,000 non-commercial/industrial vacant land parcels.

Hot Topics

The proposed City’s Complete Streets Design Handbook can be found at:

There will be a public training on the proposed handbook at 6 pm on Sept 24th in Room 1450 Municipal Services Bldg.
Comments are due Oct 1, 2012 and should be sent to
NOTE: The homestead exemption applications are due November 15, 2012.

Updated information from the Department of Licenses and Inspections

Legislative Update

  • Amended §3546 of the probate code, which permits a petition for the determination of title to real property. The amendments clarify the statue, and, particularly, make it clear that the court has the ability to cutoff the real property rights of nonresponsive heirs.
  • 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.
  • 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.