what is a land bank?

“Land bank” is the informal name for land reutilization corporations established under Sections 1724 and 5722 of the Ohio Revised Code. County land banks are quasi-governmental nonprofit community improvement corporations with the public purpose of reclaiming, rehabilitating, and reutilizing abandoned, vacant, blighted and tax-foreclosed property.

how is a land bank established?

Land banks are established in a two-part process. First, a board of county commissioners, or county council, passes a resolution authorizing the  establishment of a land bank. Second, the County Treasurer, or Fiscal Officer, files Articles of  Incorporation with the Ohio Secretary of State. After incorporation, the board of commissioners, or county council, approves the corporation’s operating documents, known as the  Code of Regulations. After this is approved, the land bank’s board of directors are appointed and  are responsible for governing the organization and hiring staff.

what does a land bank do?

Land banks serve as the agent for the county in which they were created in the reclamation, rehabilitation, and reutilization of abandoned, vacant, blighted and tax-foreclosed property. They were created to assist communities in recovering from the foreclosure crisis. Land banks are tasked with facilitating the return of vacant, abandoned and tax-foreclosed properties to productive economic use. Land Banks take ownership of properties, clear title, assemble parcels of property for development, and manage properties until redevelopment can begin. This process may take months or, in some cases, years.

how is the land bank governed?

The Summit County Land Bank is a nonprofit community improvement corporation governed by a seven-member Board of Directors. Under Ohio law, the board must include the Summit County Executive, Summit County Fiscal Officer, a representative of Summit County Council, a representative from the largest municipality, and a representative from a township with more than 10,000 residents. Because the Summit County Land Bank operates with seven members, Ohio law also requires at least one board member have real estate experience. Responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the Summit County Land Bank falls to the Executive Director and staff.

how is a land bank funded?

County commissions, or county council, can elect to increase the county’s delinquent tax and assessment collection (DTAC) fund to provide a land bank with operating income. The County Treasurer, or Fiscal Officer, may make special advances of late payments of first half taxes and/or newly delinquent taxes with the associated penalties and interest allocated to a land bank. The county can authorize the use of tax delinquency anticipation notes (DTANS) to fund a county land bank. Additionally, the county land bank can borrow money, receive money through the sale of land, and obtain funds as a state, federal, or other grant applicant or co-applicant.

how does a land bank acquire property?

Land Banks acquire property in a number of ways, including purchase, donation, and tax foreclosure. The expedited tax foreclosure process allows the direct transfer of tax-foreclosed properties to land banks. Lending institutions may transfer low-value properties to land banks, sometimes providing funds for rehabilitation or demolition. In some cases, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Affairs (HUD) may transfer low-value properties to land banks as well. Private individuals and probated estates no longer wanting the burden of owning property may donate property to a land bank. Land banks also have the authority to purchase or lease property.

what are the benefits of a land bank?

County land banks help communities stabilize the property tax base and assist in reducing, and eliminating, abandonment, vacancy and blight and support the orderly redevelopment of neighborhoods. County land banks serve as a tool for communities.