FAQs

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.

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

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

If you are 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@cincinnatiport.org. We will evaluate the property and call or e-mail you to discuss the possibility of donation. Sometimes, we are unable to accept the donation of a property.  For example, if we cannot get clear title to a property or the property is occupied, donation may not be an option.

  1. Check to make sure the property that you’re interested in 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. 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 to make sure you actually want to buy it.  Sometimes, applicants decide a property will take too much work.  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. We review the information in the application to get the process started. Unfortunately, we do not have enough staff to let you walk through the property before you apply for it. However, you are encouraged to walk the exterior of the property. After that step, please complete 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, estimated costs to rehab a property with a structure on it and what funds you have or can borrow for the project (cash on hand, a loan, a grant, historic tax credits, etc.). For properties with structures on them, once your application is preliminarily approved, we can set up a time for you to go through it, so you can decide whether it is the right property for you.

Properties purchased from the Landbank always come with restrictions on their use. For example, we require all purchasers to bring properties with structures back into habitability, and regardless of whether there is a structure on it, to maintain the property in good repair and pay taxes on it.

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 someone else.
  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.

Costs for Landbank properties vary depending on the neighborhood, condition and other factors.  Often, our properties have no set price or price is negotiable. Rather, we are looking for fair market value. Sometimes, the best way to think of this is:

Cost of property post-rehab – cost of rehab – transactional costs = Purchase price

Below are other price parameters to consider for Landbank properties:

  1. The price for a vacant lot through our Lot-to-Yard program is as low as $200, but in neighborhoods where there is a demand for vacant lots, we may charge more.
  2. The price for a lot through our Gardens and Green program is as low as $1,000, but in neighborhoods where there is a demand for vacant lots, we may charge more.
  3.  Typical prices for structures the Landbank sells through the Single Family Home and Commercial Development programs vary widely. Price depends on the property’s condition and location, as well as other factors, including site development costs. 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.

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

  1. Be registered with the State of Ohio (if they are a business);
  2. Not own any (or have a history of owning) properties with outstanding code violations;
  3. Be up to date on all property taxes;
  4. Not have recent foreclosure filings on their record.

Sometimes, these restrictions can be waived if there are good reasons for doing so. We also reserve the right not to approve an application for other reasons not listed here, such as competing applications or if there is a more productive use for the property.

No, the Landbank does not sell houses for $1. See the FAQ on pricing above. We consider a number of factors in sale price, including the condition and location of the property. If your Single-Family Home or Commercial Development application is approved, we will find a price that makes sense for that property and your project.

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.

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 do not have capacity to locate a property that fits your specific needs.

You need to do that research on your own by reviewing our Available Properties, which is updated frequently. We list our properties by type of property (building or land) and neighborhood, to help you find the property you are seeking. The Hamilton County Auditor’s website is a good place for you to find for more details on the properties we have available.

The typical process takes a few months, but it can take much shorter or longer. The timeline of the process varies depending on whether your application is complete with all of the information that we need from you. We also seek input from some neighborhood community development corporations (CDC’s) to make sure that they support your application. There can be other factors that cause delay as well, including if we are experiencing a large volume of applications.

We do not have capacity to show you a property until after your initial application has been preliminarily approved. If it is preliminarily approved, we will set up a time for you to visit the property. We understand that pursuing a property that you have not been through is challenging!

We advise applicants to fill out the application to the best of their abilities based on the knowledge available to them, including exterior inspection of the property. Once your application is approved, you will have the opportunity to go through the property and revise your application. Under no circumstances are you obligated to purchase a property without seeing it! After application approval and inspection, you can decide whether you want to complete the purchase.

No. We spend our limited funds maintaining our own properties until they can be put back into productive use. We will sometimes stabilize blighted, vacant historic properties. If you can no longer afford to maintain your property and want to donate it to the Landbank, see the FAQ on donation above. If you know of a vacant, blighted 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.

The Landbank does full rehabs of some of its properties. You can see them at this link.

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.

No. The Landbank is set up to deal with vacant, blighted properties, not properties with occupants. 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.

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 through our contact form 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 recommend reaching out to your local municipality to file a complaint about any visible building code violations and to the police about any criminal activity.  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.

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 the Landbank is the owner, move on to the next question for information about notifying us about a problem.

If the 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.”

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.

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.

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 three to four months of acquisition.

Prior to demolishing a property, the Landbank 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@cincinnatiport.org.

We assess the condition of the building to determine whether the property should be rehabbed, stabilized or demolished. We also consider other factors, such as whether there is a strong market for rehabs of properties in the immediate area, 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.

The Landbank manages Hamilton County’s allocation of demolition funding from the statewide Neighborhood Initiative Program (NIP), administered by the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) and financed using the United States Treasury’s Hardest Hit Funds. Properties demolished under NIP must meet the following criteria:

  1. Owned by the Landbank at the time of demolition,
  2. Located in an NIP target neighborhood [link to NIP Map]
  3. Residential (commercial and industrial properties are not eligible)

OHFA places a three-year lien on these properties after demolition in order to ensure a positive end-use. However, this lien may be released before the end of the three-year period for any of the approved end-uses below*:

  1. Residential Side Lot (to owner-occupant of adjacent property)
  2. Public Use
  3. Non-Profit Organization Use
  4. Business or Residential Development

Prior to demolishing a property, the Landbank 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.

*More information available in the NIP Program Guidelines, located at http://ohiohome.org/savethedream/neighborhoodinitiative.aspx

Once the Landbank applies for an early lien release, if successful, it typically takes one to three months for the lien to be released and the property made available for transfer.

The Landbank shares information about Hamilton County Forfeited Properties.  Forfeited properties on our Property List are not currently owned by the Landbank, but can be requested through our application process.

Forfeited properties are those that have gone through foreclosure but were not purchased at County tax sale. Some forfeited properties are small or odd shaped parcels that may be of best use when associated with adjacent parcels. Once the Landbank submits a request for a forfeited property, it typically takes between three and six months for the Landbank to obtain title to the property. Forfeited properties should have clear title once acquired by the Landbank; however, prospective purchasers are strongly encouraged to conduct their own title search prior to purchasing properties from the Landbank.

Not all properties stay forfeited. Therefore, this list is constantly in flux and the Landbank cannot verify its full accuracy until or unless a request to acquire a forfeited property is received by our office.