Blight and Land Banks

The PA Department of Community & Economic Development is actively involved in projects and initiatives to fight blight.

Over the past decade, Pennsylvania has expanded the tools available to local governments to fight blight. The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) is helping provide information on land banks and other tools to return blighted and vacant properties to productive use.

Land Bank Legislation, Act 153 of 2012

Land banks are one of the tools that municipalities may use to facilitate the return of vacant, abandoned and tax-delinquent properties to productive use.

Land Bank Ordinances

The governing body of the land bank jurisdiction which creates a land bank is required to file a copy of the ordinance with both DCED and the Department of State (DOS).


To submit an electronic copy of your land bank ordinance, email DCED’s Landbank Ordinance Office.

Department of State (DOS)

Mail a copy of your land bank ordinance, with a filing fee of $125, to DOS at:
Department of State

Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations
P.O. Box 8722
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8722

Sample Ordinance

This sample ordinance can be used by land bank jurisdictions to develop their own ordinances in consultation with their solicitor. Please keep in mind that this guidance document is intended to be an information resource only.

Land Bank Audits

Once DCED receives the ordinance from your land bank, along with the certificate of incorporation from DOS, DCED will establish your fiscal year end date for annual reporting purposes as December 31st, unless otherwise noted.

Land banks are required to annually, within 120 days after the end of the fiscal year, submit an audit of income and expenditures, together with a report of its activities for the preceding year, to DCED.

Files are to be saved as follows: Year of Audit-Name_of_Land_Bank.

Example: 2015_Audit_Dauphin_County_LB

Submit a copy of your land bank audit and report to DCED.

Land banks must also file a duplicate of the audit along with a report of activities for the preceding year with the land bank jurisdiction which created the land bank and each political subdivision which opted to participate in the land bank pursuant to an intergovernmental agreement.

This information is used by legislative and executive agencies for legislative, policy and funding considerations, as well as many outside organizations for research and comparative analysis. The fulfillment of your responsibility in filing your land bank’s annual report will greatly assist our efforts in that regard.

Pennsylvania Blight and Land Bank Library

Visit the Blight and Land Banks PA Blight LibraryThe Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania, in partnership with DCED, created an online library of resources for local governments. It includes information to help establish and operate a land bank, and provides other resources to return blighted and vacant properties to productive use.

The two newest publications are:

Cost of Blight

Blight hurts communities in many ways. It poses serious health and safety threats, costs local governments for enforcement and maintenance, reduces property values and tax revenue and makes communities less attractive for investment. The Tri-COG Collaborative in the Mon Valley of Allegheny County, with funding from DCED, produced a financial impact of blight study.

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