What should I do if my no one has lived in the other side of our duplex for almost 10 years and we’d like to buy it?

UPDATED: Sep 3, 2011

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What should I do if my no one has lived in the other side of our duplex for almost 10 years and we’d like to buy it?

Me and my wife are renting out a basement in the twin house. I’ve found out that no one lives in the second half of the twin. We’ve asked our landlords and they told us that the owner died years ago somewhere overseas and there are relatives who also lives overseas and they never respond to any attempt of communication with our landlords. The property is going to be ruined sooner or later by the poultry. We would like to buy this property for a reduced price, but how if no one is selling it out?

Asked on September 3, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

All you can do is try to find the owners and contact them yourself--there is no way to acquire property privately ownd unless the owner chooses to sell to you. You can try to "enlist" the power of your municipality in finding and pressuring them if there are code violations--e.g. health or building violations; you mention something about poultry who are ruining the property?--since if there are, the city may also reach out to them, levy fines, and generally possibly help the owners understand that maybe they should sell, if they cannot or will not maintain the property.

Other than that, keep you eyes open for any signs the propety is foreclosed upon for not paying taxes or mortgages; if it is, you may be able to acquire it from the bank or city.


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