The Detroit Land Bank Authority is a public entity created specifically to tackle the huge surplus of vacant, abandoned, and foreclosed property in the city and return them to productive use. The Detroit Land Bank Authority and the City of Detroit are working in partnership to eliminate blight in Detroit in order to stabilize neighborhoods and improve quality of life for Detroit residents.
The Detroit Land Bank Authority manages the following programs:
- Hardest Hit Fund Demolitions
- Nuisance Abatement Program
- Home Auctions on BuildingDetroit.org
- Side Lot Sales on BuildingDetroit.org
- Community Partnerships for Endorsement, Blight Removal, and Redevelopment
2. WHAT IS A LAND BANK?
A land bank is a public authority created under state law to efficiently acquire, hold, manage, develop, and dispose of vacant and abandoned properties.
3. HOW IS THE DETROIT LAND BANK GOVERNED?
The Detroit Land Bank is governed by a board of five directors. Four are appointed by the Mayor of Detroit and approved by Detroit City Council, and one is appointed by the Executive Director of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA).
4. HOW IS THE DETROIT LAND BANK FINANCED?
The Detroit Land Bank Authority is financed through a variety of means including property sales, government grants, philanthropic support, donations, and fees for service.
5. HOW DO I FIND OUT WHO OWNS A PROPERTY OR LOT IN DETROIT?
Ownership information about property or lots in Detroit can be found at motorcitymapping.org.
6. CAN I DONATE MY PROPERTY TO THE DETROIT LAND BANK?
Yes, the Detroit Land Bank Authority will attempt to accept donated residential property that is unoccupied and not subject to tax or mortgage foreclosure. If the property is in need of demolition the property must be located within a Hardest Hit Fund Target Area. You may check to see if a property falls within these areas by going to motorcitymapping.org.
7. WHERE CAN I FIND INFORMATION ON THE CITY OF DETROIT’S BUILDING CODES, PERMITS, CERTIFICATES OF OCCUPANCY, ZONING INFORMATION, ORDINANCES, AND ACTS?
Permit application procedures, building permit requirements, zoning information, and requirements and process for obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy can be found on the on the Building, Safety, Engineering & Environmental Department (BSEED) website. A copy of the City of Detroit Building Codes, Ordinances and Acts can be obtained from the City Clerk’s Office located at 2 Woodward Avenue, Suite 200, Detroit, MI 48226.
8. WHY ARE HOMES BEING DEMOLISHED IN DETROIT?
It is well known that there are many negative consequences of blighted properties in Detroit neighborhoods. Demolition of properties that are beyond rehabilitation is key to the Mayor’s overall strategy to eliminate blight in the City of Detroit. Fortunately, in June of 2013, Detroit received permission to use $52.3 million dollars from the US Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund to demolish vacant residential properties within the city. The Hardest Hit Fund was created in March of 2010 by the Obama administration to address the struggling economy by stemming the tide of residential foreclosures. There are several conditions to this federal funding – such as which properties can be demolished, and how quickly the money must be spent – but the Mayor and Detroit Land Bank Authority are working hard to make sure that all areas of the city will benefit from blight removal in the coming years.
9. WHO IS IN CHARGE OF DEMOLITION?
The Detroit Land Bank Authority and the City of Detroit Building Authority are working in partnership to eliminate blight across the city with all available funding sources, and using a single set of demolition procedures to ensure that the work is conducted safely and efficiently.
10. WHY ARE THE HOUSES IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD BEING DEMOLISHED?
Over the next three months residents of the City of Detroit will see hundreds of abandoned buildings being torn down, up to 1200 a month from August to October. The majority of these structures will be within the federally-required Hardest Hit Fund Target Areas. These neighborhoods are mostly in low and moderate vacancy areas, so that the greatest number of people can experience the benefits of blight removal. In 2013 only a few areas of the City were covered but in 2014, Mayor Duggan successfully petitioned the State to nearly triple the size of these target areas, which now include some of the City’s poorest neighborhoods.
11. WHY ARE ONLY CERTAIN PROPERTIES IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD BEING DEMOLISHED?
Only vacant, residential properties owned by the Detroit Land Bank Authority may be demolished with Hardest Hit Fund dollars. As a result, Most of the properties that will be torn down over the next two years will be City owned residential structures. However, the Mayor and Detroit Land Bank Authority have developed several new strategies to seize drug houses and other properties that are persistent nuisances and hazards to neighborhoods across the city. These initiatives will continue to be rolled out in the coming months. If there is a residential property that you feel is a particular detriment to the quality of life in your neighborhood you can direct your request to your district manager. You can find your district manager’s contact information here.
If there is a residential property that you feel is a particular detriment to the quality of life in your neighborhood you can direct your request to your district manager. You can find your district manager’s contact information by heading to detroitmi.gov and clicking on “Department of Neighborhoods”.
12. WHY ISN’T DEMOLITION HAPPENING IN ANOTHER NEIGHBORHOOD THAT NEEDS IT?
It is estimated that there are over 50, 000 structures that are blighted and in need of immediate removal. In order to eliminate blight safely and efficiently, the City of Detroit and Detroit Land Bank Authority must work within available funding guidelines. Since the majority of the currently available funding is through the Hardest Hit Fund, most of the demolitions that are conducted by the City of Detroit and Detroit Land Bank Authority in the coming months will be in the required Hardest Hit Fund Target Areas.
Houses that won’t be torn down in the next year will need to be secured. The City of Detroit, working with the Land Bank and numerous community partners, will seek additional funding this purpose and will provide support for more robust volunteer efforts. Improving neighborhood police patrols, installing new lights, and cutting vacant lots are some of the measures being taken to improve security in all neighborhoods, especially around abandoned houses.