Can You Sue for Property Damages As a Result of Dangerous Buildings Demolition ?
In Stein v. City of Philadelphia, 125 Pa. Commw. 225, 557 A.2d 1137, 1140 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1989), the landowner filed a petition for the appointment of a board of view, alleging a de facto taking of her property as a result of the City of Philadelphia's demolition of two neighboring properties which were deemed imminently dangerous.
Due to the demolition, the landowner's property, which had not been deemed imminently dangerous, suffered substantial structural damage rendering it uninhabitable.
The City of Philadelphia filed preliminary objections in the nature of a demurrer which the trial court sustained, reasoning that because the property was damaged as a consequence of an exercise of police power rather than eminent domain power, there was no taking.
In rejecting this reasoning, this court stressed that because the landowner's property was not deemed to be a nuisance, "there was no justification for such conduct and the agency may be responsible for damages resulting therefrom." Stein, 557 A.2d at 1140.
The Court note that in Stein, this court did not hold that a de facto taking had occurred as Landowners maintain; rather, the Court remanded the matter to the trial court to make findings and determine whether the landowner established a de facto taking as a matter of law.