Frequently Asked Questions
Have questions? Need clarification? You may find your answers here.
What is the Cuyahoga Land Bank?
The Cuyahoga Land Bank is a private, non-profit, government-purposed entity formed in 2009 following the passage of Ohio Senate Bill 353, which granted county land banks the special community development powers needed to improve communities. The Land Bank’s mission is to strategically acquire properties, return them to productive use, reduce blight, increase property values, support community goals, and improve the quality of life for County residents.
How is the Cuyahoga Land Bank different from a city land bank?
The Ohio legislature designed county land banks to operate efficiently and more like a private enterprise but under a public mission. They are created by county commissioners and county treasurers within parameters established by county governments and applicable statutes (Ohio Revised Code 1724.01). County land banks are given robust legal and transactional powers that allow for a more aggressive response to the burden of vacant, abandoned and tax-delinquent properties.
Where does the Land Bank get the properties in their inventory?
The primary sources of properties obtained by the Cuyahoga Land Bank are: 1) tax foreclosures, 2) State of Ohio forfeiture list, 3) privately-foreclosed properties from banks (REO properties) and other lenders, such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and HUD, 4) Housing Court referrals, and 5) occasional donations.
What is the Land Bank's next step once it accquires a property?
When the Cuyahoga Land Bank acquires a property, we assess it taking into consideration the condition of electrical, plumbing, HVAC and structural systems including the roof, walls and foundation. Our evaluation of what to do with the property is based on the assessment, local input and other criteria. If we determine that a property could be rehabilitated, specifications are prepared, and, if deemed feasible, the property is either renovated by the Cuyahoga Land Bank or made available for renovation by individuals or investors through our Deed-in-Escrow Program. Properties are scheduled for demolition only when the assessment shows that they are deteriorated beyond the point of even considering rehabilitation, or the cost to renovate based on the spec is deemed to be too high.
How can I purchase and renovate a Cuyahoga Land Bank home?
We offer several programs to purchase and renovate properties in our inventory. Our Deed-In-Escrow Program is our most popular program, allowing qualified buyers – whether owner-occupants or investors – to buy and renovate Cuyahoga Land Bank properties. The Land Bank’s Programs and Property Management team prepares professional renovation specifications (“the spec”). The buyer has approximately four months to complete renovations according to the spec after their offer is accepted. The deed to the property is held “in escrow” by the Land Bank until all renovations are complete and have passed a final inspection.
How can my company become a contractor or service provider for the Cuyahoga Land Bank?
The Land Bank works with a diverse group of local contractors in undertaking our real estate development, demolition, and vacant lot maintenance activities. We are on the lookout for quality contractors that specialize in rehabilitation, new construction, board up and security, debris removal, asbestos survey and abatement, demolition, landscaping, and lawn maintenance. We also work with realty, title and appraisal professionals. If your company would like to be considered for work with the Cuyahoga Land Bank, please complete and submit our pre-qualification form HERE.
How does the Land Bank determine which houses will be demolished?
When the Cuyahoga Land Bank acquires a property, we assess it taking into consideration the condition of electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and structural systems including the roof, walls, and foundation. Our evaluation of what to do with the property is based on the assessment, local input and other criteria. If we determine that a property could be rehabilitated, specifications are prepared, and, if deemed feasible, the property is either renovated by the Cuyahoga Land Bank or made available for renovation by individuals or investors through our Deed-in-Escrow Program. Properties are scheduled for demolition only when the assessment shows that they are deteriorated beyond the point of even considering rehabilitation, or the cost to renovate based on the spec is deemed to be too high. These properties then undergo an asbestos survey and any necessary remediation before demolition. Once a home is demolished, a neighbor can acquire the land to expand their side yard.
Does the Cuyahoga Land Bank collaborate with other organizations?
The Cuyahoga Land Bank often collaborates with outside agencies and municipalities and community development organizations to achieve their redevelopment goals. In addition, we partner with many mission-based organizations who serve at-risk populations in our community. Since 2014, the Land Bank has partnered with dozens of social service, faith-based and non-profit organizations that offer affordable housing, community stabilization, and skilled training opportunities to those most in need.
How is the Cuyahoga Land Bank funded?
The Cuyahoga Land Bank’s primary funding consists of interest and penalties that are collected in connection with delinquent real estate property taxes. The County government does not provide funding to us from its tax-supported general revenues, neither is the County liable for the Land Bank’s operations and obligations. Additional outside sources of funding that supports the Land Bank include, but are not limited to, gifts, grants, loans, and the proceeds from property sales.
How does the Cuyahoga Land Bank keep track of all its properties?
The Cuyahoga Land Bank uses a sophisticated, cloud-based software application to manage and analyze properties that are either to be acquired, have been disposed, or are currently in inventory. The software, known as the Property Profile System (PPS), was developed in-house by the Land Bank’s Research and Information Technology staff. The Land Bank also works with the Case Western Reserve University’s Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development and their integrated data system – NEOCANDO – to monitor foreclosures, property sales, demolitions, Sheriff’s sales and other characteristics.
Who is responsible for the governance of the Cuyahoga Land Bank?
The Cuyahoga Land Bank is governed by a Board of Directors. Per State law, the Board of Directors is required to consist of nine members: the Cuyahoga County Executive (or designee), the Cuyahoga County Treasurer (or designee), a County Council appointment, two representatives from the largest city (Cleveland), and the remaining members selected by the County Executive, the County Treasurer and the County Council representative.
What region does the Cuyahoga Land Bank serve?
Although the bulk of the vacancy, abandonment and blight arising from the foreclosure crisis occurs in the City of Cleveland and the inner-ring suburbs of Cuyahoga County, the Cuyahoga Land Bank is authorized to service all of Cuyahoga County.
Is the Cuyahoga Land Bank subject to the Ohio Public Records and Ohio Open Meeting Laws?
Yes, as a quasi-governmental corporation, the Cuyahoga Land Bank, with minor exceptions, is subject to the Ohio Public Records and Ohio Open Meeting Laws.
Does the Cuyahoga Land Bank abide by local zoning and building and housing laws?
Does the Cuyahoga Land Bank take all foreclosed properties?
The Cuyahoga Land Bank takes many, but not all, vacant and abandoned tax-foreclosed properties. The Land Bank determines which foreclosed properties it will acquire based on availability of funding to cover demolition or renovation costs and consideration of environmental risks and other strategic factors in cooperation with Cuyahoga County municipalities.
Do you have a list of all your vacant lots?
Our property inventory changes frequently. You can search the list of available vacant lots we currently own. You may also call (216) 698-8853 to ask about the availability of a particular lot. If you are interested in one of our vacant lots located on either side of your home, please call or e-mail [email protected].
Can I buy the lot located next door, across or down the street from my home?
Our residential Side Yard Program offers these lots only to the adjacent neighbors on either side of our properties. Guidelines are occasionally waived or modified to accommodate unique circumstances.
How much does the Land Bank charge for buildings available for renovation?
The purchase price for each parcel is unique, select Deed-in-Escrow homes can be purchased for renovation for as low as $5,000 or less.