Philadelphia Council Calls for Independent Appraisal Before City Real-Estate Deals

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City Council unanimously approved legislation yesterday introduced in January by Councilman at Large Allan Domb to require an independent appraisal before Council approves the acquisition of title in real estate or approves the sale of real estate with a value of over $200,000, as assigned by the Office of Property Assessment.

The new rules would not apply in the cases of Sheriff sales or to the City’s acquisition of property through eminent domain purchases.
The bill, co-sponsored by Councilman Bobby Henon, called for amending Chapter 16-200 of the Philadelphia Code on “Sales, Leases
and Other Grants of City-Owned Buildings and Facilities,” by requiring appraisals as a condition of approval of certain acquisitions and dispositions of real estate, all under certain terms and conditions. The Commissioner of Public Property would be responsible for providing Council an independent appraisal of the value of applicable real estate.

At present time, the City regularly obtains appraisals as part of its policy and best practices, but is not required to do so.

“An independent appraisal of property is the only way to ensure the city doesn’t overpay for any purchase it makes, and receives the best possible value on any real estate that it sells,” Domb said. “I am thankful to my Council colleagues for supporting this legislation.”

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