Strategy-of-the-Month: Revitalizing Foreclosed Properties with Land Banks
Posted Date: October 27, 2009


Regulatory Barriers Clearinghouse
Strategy-of-the-Month Club
October 2009
The nation's foreclosure crisis has resulted in a large
number of vacant and abandoned properties in many
communities. Left unattended, these properties present a
safety hazard and can lower property values in
surrounding areas. In worst-case scenarios, the number of
abandoned homes reaches a "tipping point", resulting in
widespread dereliction and blight. Faced with daunting
budget challenges, many local governments are adopting
land bank ordinances to help facilitate the redevelopment
and revitalization of affected neighborhoods. A new
report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development's Office of Policy Development and Research,
 Revitalizing Foreclosed Properties with Land Banks, looks
at the structure and function of land banking, and
discusses barriers and solutions to its successful
According to the report, land banks provide an effective
mechanism for local governments to return abandoned, tax-
delinquent properties to productive reuse and to achieve
long-term planning goals, such as establishing affordable
housing provisions. To establish a land bank, the report
advises communities to first gather data on existing
abandoned properties and identify existing barriers to
their redevelopment. The next step is to adopt a clear
set of policy goals, which, in tandem with supportive
state land bank-enabling legislation, allows land bank
authorities to acquire and dispose of abandoned
properties. The report also includes case studies that
provide an in-depth view of the operating procedures and
accomplishments of three land bank authorities: Genesee
County, Michigan; Baltimore City, Maryland; and Fulton
County/City of Atlanta, Georgia. These case studies can
serve as a template for local governments in their
efforts to tailor land bank policies to meet community
To view the report in its entirety, please visit
You can also order a hard copy of the report by calling
HUD USER at 1-800-245-2691, Option 1.
We hope this information proves useful to you in your
efforts to grow your region's affordable housing stock.
If you have regulatory reform strategies or resources
that you'd like to share, or require assistance in
identifying other viable strategies on our web-based
Clearinghouse database, email us
at, call us at 1-800-245-2691
(option 4), or visit our website at
Feel free to forward this message to friends and
colleagues with an interest in reducing housing costs by
creating an environment that's favorable to affordable
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