County Land Bank making progress

By Megan Neary -

The Fayette County Land Bank is making progress toward putting abandoned, foreclosed-upon, and tax-delinquent properties up for sale.

Before putting these properties up for sale, title searches must be conducted to locate property owners and, in the case of property with no living owners, efforts must be taken to find whomever could lay claim to the estate. The owners of properties that owe significant back taxes will have the opportunity to sign over the property to the land bank in exchange for forgiveness of the taxes, according to the Fayette County Commissioners. The tax lien will then be removed from the property so that it can be sold.

Most properties will be auctioned off to the highest bidder, but a few properties may only be purchased by the owner of the property next door due to their location. The goal for these properties is for neighbors to absorb them into their current property holdings.

When properties are ready to be sold, signs will be posted and information will be available online.

When title and legal services and other expenses are taken into account, the land bank may lose money on the sale of some properties and doesn’t expect to do much more than break even on others.

“Breaking even’s not a bad deal some days,” said commissioner Dan Dean. The goal of the land bank is not to profit on the sales of the properties, but to get “unproductive properties back on the tax roll,” according to Dean, “and in the process it improves the surrounding properties,” added commissioner Tony Anderson.

Currently, about 75 communities across the country are operating land banks. The goal of these land banks is to keep communities vibrant by getting abandoned properties back into circulation. This benefits not just those individuals who purchase the property, but also those who live near the property and could be driven away by the eyesore of a neglected, abandoned property.

By Megan Neary

Reach Megan Neary at 614-440-9124

Reach Megan Neary at 614-440-9124