Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the Hamilton County Land Reutilization Corporation?

The Hamilton County Land Reutilization Corporation, or Landbank, works to foster economic development by turning real estate that is vacant, blighted, and underutilized into a community asset. Vacant and blighted properties can be dangerous, attract crime, diminish the property values of neighboring property owners, and make the surrounding neighborhood less attractive and pleasant. The Landbank works to acquire properties that are deemed vacant and blighted, improve and maintain them, and then sell them to responsible property owners who will maintain the properties in good repair and pay real estate taxes in a timely fashion.

2. What is the relationship between the Cincinnati Port Authority and the Landbank?

The Greater Cincinnati Redevelopment Authority is the Management Company of the Landbank. This means some Redevelopment Authority employees spend a portion of their time working on Landbank projects, and the Landbank is located at the Redevelopment Authority office at 3 East 4th Street, Suite 300, Cincinnati, OH 45202.

3. Where is the Landbank located?

The Landbank is located at 3 E. Fourth Street, Suite 300, Cincinnati OH, 45202.

4. My property is too expensive for me to maintain/demolish/pay the property taxes. How can I donate or sell it to the Landbank?

If you may be interested in donating your property to the Landbank, please send an email stating your interest, along with the property address and your contact information, to info@hamiltoncountylandbank.org. We will evaluate the property and call or e-mail you to discuss the possibility of donation. E-mailing us to begin a discussion does not obligate you to donate your property. If we are able to accept the property, and you decide you wish to donate it, we will prepare the necessary documentation for the transfer and order a title exam. We are often, although not always, able to help clear title problems with the property. Once title is clear, we will set up a time to close. We will prepare all closing documents and handle the transfer of the property. The entire process typically takes about two months, although significant title problems can delay property transfer.

Property owners sometimes wish to donate property to the Landbank when they can no longer afford to maintain the property or pay property taxes. We are often able to accept properties that have code violations, delinquent taxes, and other problems. We are not able to accept every offer of donation we receive, but we accept as many as we can. For the Landbank to accept the donation of a property, the property must be vacant and have a clear title.

5. I see the Landbank owns a property I’m interested in. How do I buy the property from the Landbank?

  1. Check to make sure the property that interests you is posted on our Available Properties list.
  2. Visit our Programs page to figure out which program fits your plan for the property, and fill out the application for that program.
  3. Submit your application here. We endeavor to review all applications and get every applicant an answer within 30 days of our receipt of their application.
  4. If your application is approved, we will discuss a purchase price and sign a purchase contract.
  5. You will have a due diligence period before closing to obtain a title exam and other due diligence on the property if you wish. At the end of the due diligence period, we will close on the sale of the property.

Filling out an application does not obligate you to purchase the property, nor does it entitle you to purchase the property. We review the information in the application to get the process started. Unfortunately we cannot set up a time for you to walk through the property before we have your application, because of the volume of requests we receive. Please just fill out the application to the best of your ability with the information you have. Every application must clearly identify what you will do with the property once you purchase it, how much this will cost, and what funds you have or will seek for the project (cash on hand, a loan, a grant, historic tax credits, etc.). Once we have approved your application, we will be able to arrange for you to go through the property, if there is a structure on it, so you can evaluate it whether it is the right property for you.

Properties purchased from the Landbank always come with restrictions on their use. These are typically not onerous, but we require all purchasers to fulfill their plan for the property after closing, and to maintain the property in good repair and pay taxes on it.

6. I know the Landbank owns a particular property, but it isn’t listed on Available Properties on the Landbank website. Why isn’t it on the website?

There are three reasons a property owned by the Landbank may not be listed as available for sale on our Available Properties list:

  1. We have already agreed to sell the property to another party.
  2. We are holding the property for one of our Community Development Corporation partners.
  3. We are using the property for one of our own projects. These properties often become available for sale later, after our project is completed.

7. How much does it cost to buy property from the Landbank?

  1. The price for a vacant lot through our Lot-to-Yard program is $500.
  2. The price for a lot through our Gardens and Green program is $1,000
  3.  Typical prices for structures the Landbank sells through the Single Family Home and Commercial Development programs have ranged from $5,000 to $70,000, but can be more or less depending on the property. We work with each property and each buyer to set a price that makes sense for that property, and the buyer’s plan for it. Buyers of our properties sometimes elect to have an appraisal done on the property to help establish a price.

You can read a description of all our programs here. The majority of Landbank properties need significant investment of time and money to make them useable, so the price is often quite low. However, we do not give properties away for free, or sell them for $1. As with any real estate sale, properties located in popular neighborhoods, large properties, and properties in good condition will cost more than other properties.

8. Who is a qualified applicant to buy property from the Landbank?

All applicants to purchase Landbank property must meet the following criteria:

  1. The applicant must be a resident of Hamilton County, or have designated a local agent authorized to accept service of process on behalf of the applicant.
  2. The applicant must not own any real property with outstanding orders for the violation of state and/or local property codes, unless such violations are attributable solely to a prior owner and the applicant is actively working on fixing them. To see if your property has any outstanding orders for the violation of state and/or local property codes, please use the code enforcement website: http://cagisperm.hamilton-co.org/cpop/permits/complaint.aspx
  3. The applicant must not have a history of owning real property in a chronic nuisance state, except if such a state may be attributed to a prior owner and the applicant is actively working on fixing the nuisance. To see if your property is in a chronic nuisance state, please use the code enforcement website: http://cagisperm.hamilton-co.org/cpop/permits/complaint.aspx.
  4. The applicant must not have been the subject of a prosecution for property maintenance code infractions within the last five years. To see if you have been the subject of a code infraction prosecution, please use the Clerk of Courts website: http://www.courtclerk.org/
  5. The applicant must not own real property that is in a tax delinquent status. To see if your property is tax delinquent, please use the Hamilton County Auditor’s website: http://hamiltoncountyauditor.org
  6. The applicant must not be the owner of real property on which any foreclosure filing has been commenced within the last five years. To see if you have been the owner of real property with a foreclosure filing, please use the Clerk of Courts website: http://www.courtclerk.org

Furthermore, if the applicant is an entity, then the entity must be properly registered with the State of Ohio. To see if your entity is property registered with the State of Ohio, please use the Ohio Secretary of State Business Search webpage: http://www5.sos.state.oh.us/ords/f?p=100:1. We reserve the right not to approve an application for other reasons not listed here, such as competing applications or a more productive use for the property, but this section summarizes the most basic of our requirements.

9. Can I buy a house from the Landbank for $1?

No, the Landbank does not sell houses for $1. We sell vacant lots at the prices noted in our program descriptions, and we sell structures at a wide range of prices. Typical prices for structures range from $5,000 – $70,000, but can be higher or lower. If your Single Family Home or Commercial Development application is approved, you and the Landbank will discuss the property to find a price that makes sense for that property and your project.

10. I am with a non-profit or charity. Will the Landbank donate a property to us?

No, the Landbank does not give properties away for free, even to non-profits and charities. If your organization’s application is approved, we will work with you to set a price for the property that fits your plan for the property and your budget. Keep in mind the properties the Landbank sells typically require a significant investment of time and money to make them useable.

11. I am looking for a specific type of property, such as a large piece of vacant land, a building suitable for a particular purpose, or a property in a specific neighborhood. Does the Landbank have any properties that fit my needs?

We hope so! Please take a look at our Available Properties list to see if there is a property the Landbank has available for sale that fits your needs. Unfortunately we cannot do property research on behalf of potential applicants because of the very high volume of properties we own, and the volume of calls and emails we receive, so everyone will need to review the list to check for properties for which you wish to apply. We list our properties by type of property (building or land) and neighborhood, to help you find the type of property you are seeking. The Hamilton County Auditor’s website is a good place for you to check for more detail on the properties we have available.

12. How long does it take to buy a property from the Landbank?

The typical process takes a few months, but the time can be shorter or longer. The length of the process varies depending on when we receive a completed application from you, when we obtain approval of your application from our CDC partner, whether we have any paperwork to file with respect to the property, and sometimes other factors, like how busy we are at the time.

13. How can I look inside a property owned by the Landbank?

We will set up a time for you to view the property as soon as your application for the property is approved. Please fill out an application for the property to indicate your interest and begin the process. Because of the high volume of requests we receive, we cannot set up a time for you to tour the property until after we have approved your application. Just fill out the application to the best of your ability based on your knowledge of the property from the outside and your best guesses. You will have the opportunity to review the property and revise your application after we have approved the application. Under no circumstances will you become obligated to purchase a property without seeing it! You will have an opportunity to inspect the property in full and determine whether you wish to complete the purchase.

14. Does the Landbank provide grants for stabilization, rehab, or maintenance of buildings?

No, the Landbank does not have any program to provide grants for the rehabilitation or maintenance of buildings owned by others. We spend a significant portion of the Landbank budget on stabilizing and rehabilitating buildings we own; however, we do not provide grants to property owners who wish to rehab or maintain their own buildings. If you can no longer afford to maintain your own building and may be interested in donating it to the Landbank, you can read about that option in Question 4, above. If you know of a historic building that is in danger of severe deterioration or collapse and would like the Landbank to investigate stabilizing it, please email us with the address of the property and your contact information here.

15. How can I buy a REACH home?

For more information about the REACH program and its homes, visit the REACH page here: https://www.cincinnatiport.org/what-we-offer/REACH%20Home%20Rehab/

16. A property I’m interested in is going to sheriff’s sale. How can I buy it?

To purchase a property from the sheriff’s sale, you must attend the sheriff’s sale public auction. This auction occurs approximately twice a month on Thursdays at 11:00am, outside of Room 260 at the Hamilton County Court House, which is located at 1000 Main Street, Cincinnati OH, 45202. For more information on the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Sale, please visit the website of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office here.

17. My neighbors aren’t maintaining the house they live in/store junk in their yard/deal drugs from their house. Can you do something about this?

Unfortunately no. The Landbank is only able to address problems with vacant properties. If a building is known to be inhabited, it cannot be a target for the Landbank’s work. If you are concerned about property code violations on your neighbor’s property contact your local code enforcement office, and if you are concerned about illegal activity contact the police.

18. The house next door to mine is vacant and falling down/attracting criminal activity/overgrown with weeds. Can the Landbank do something about it?

Maybe. We help with as many vacant properties as we can, although we are not able to help with all of them. Please e-mail us at info@hamiltoncountylandbank.org with the property address, a brief description of the problem, and your name and contact information. If the Landbank is unable to help with the property, we will recommend reaching out to your local municipality to complain about any visible building code violations, and to the police about any criminal activity.

19. There is a problem property on my street. Does the Landbank own it?

We hope not! But if we do, we want to know about it immediately.  First, check if the property is owned by the Landbank by visiting the Hamilton County Auditor’s website here and searching for the property by its address. Properties owned by the Landbank show the owner as the HAMILTON COUNTY LAND REUTILIZATION CORPORATION.  If it is, move on to the next question for information about notifying us about a problem.

If a property is not owned by the Landbank but has code violations or other issues, and if it is located in the City of Cincinnati, you can fill out a citizen service request with the City by calling 513-591-6000 or going to http://cagismaps.hamilton-co.org/csr/cincinnati and requesting a service that most closely matches the problem with the property.  For example, for high grass, search “Trees, grass & weeds,” or for building code violations, search “Buildings.”

20. The Landbank owns a property and it is overgrown with weeds/not secured. When are you going to fix this?
There is dumping/trash/a branch down on Landbank-owned property. How can I report this?

Please make sure the Landbank owns the property by checking the Hamilton County Auditor’s website here. Properties owned by the Landbank show the owner as the HAMILTON COUNTY LAND REUTILIZATION CORPORATION.

If the Landbank does own the property in question, please send an email to propertyconcerns@cincinnatiport.org explaining the situation, or call 513-621-3000 and leave a message for the Property Manager. Make sure to include the address of the property in question, the problem with the property, your name and contact information, and any other relevant information. We will fix the problem as soon as possible, and contact you if the situation requires follow-up.

21. One of the Landbank’s projects damaged my property. Who do I talk to in order to fix this?

Please email propertyconcerns@cincinnatiport.org, or call 513-621-3000 and ask for the Property Manager. With assistance from one of our contractors, the Property Manager will assess the property and work with you to find a solution.

22. The Landbank owns a house that is falling down; are you going to demolish it? When? How can I buy the vacant lot after the house is down?

If the property appears to be in imminent danger of collapsing, please contact the Landbank immediately at propertyconcerns@cincinnatiport.org, or call 513-621-3000 and ask to speak to the Property Manager. Generally, properties owned by the Landbank that we determine need to be demolished are torn down within 3-4 months of acquisition.

Prior to demolishing a property, the HCLRC will post it to our website to provide community members an opportunity to apply to rehab the property.  We also check with our Community Partners to ensure that demolition is a last resort, in lieu of rehab.

As properties are demolished, the vacant lots will be offered for sale on the Landbank’s website as vacant land on our Available Properties page. If you would like to apply to purchase the vacant lot after the house is demolished, please fill out the appropriate application on our Applications page and submit the completed application to applications@hamiltoncountylandbank.org.

23. How does the Landbank decide which buildings to rehab and which to demolish?

The Landbank reviews each property we acquire internally and externally to assess the condition of the building and to decide whether the property should be rehabbed, stabilized, or demolished. We also consider other factors, such as the number of code violations, whether the property has been condemned and/or declared a public nuisance by the local municipality, and whether we believe we will be able to find a responsible end-user for the property.

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