Share This Page

Scott officials approve vacant properties for sheriff's sale

| Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

Scott officials are making a push to get some of the township's vacant properties back on the tax rolls by finding sellers willing to refurbish and sell the properties.

Township commissioners recently approved putting four properties up for sheriff's sale. Code enforcement officer Bob Fischer said he has a “couple people” interested, some of whom he has worked with before and who are looking to flip – repair and resell – the houses.

“The houses are deteriorating,” he said. “Pretty soon, you have to tear them down, and then you get no tax value. At some point, you just have to cut your losses.”

He said the properties on Locust and Magazine streets, Boroview Avenue and Scrubgrass Road are just the start.

“They're deteriorating the neighborhoods,” he said.

But sheriff's sales can be costly to a municipality, said Carnegie solicitor Joe Lucas, especially when there are no committed buyers before the property goes up for sale.

“The problem is that the cost of the properties is such that – with taxes and liens – a lot of people don't want to buy them,” Lucas said.

Even with taxes and liens stricken by the court, potential buyers can be reluctant because properties often are in a state of disrepair. It costs the borough around $5,000 just to take a property to sheriff's sale.

“We're out money, and if we haven't sold the property, we're out doubly as bad,” Lucas said. “We're out the sale cost, and we're out the taxes. Then you've got this dilapidated property sitting in the borough that nobody's taking care of. Then you tear it down at the borough's expense.”

Depending on the cost of demolition, if the property reaches that point, a municipality can be out tens of thousands of dollars at the end of the process.

Bridgeville Manager Lori Collins said the borough generally relies on the school district to initiate sheriff's sales, though it intends to begin working closely with its tax agency, Jordan Tax, and the borough solicitor to take care of liened and abandoned properties.

“Our ultimate goal is to get these properties back on the tax rolls,” she said.

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or mguza@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.