Frequently Asked Questions
A: After the passage of State enabling legislation, (S.B. 353, 127th General Assembly) the Cuyahoga County Commissioners authorized the incorporation of the Cuyahoga Land Bank as a nonprofit organization whose mission is to strategically acquire properties, return them to productive use, reduce blight, increase property values, support community goals, and to improve the quality of life for County residents.
A: "The costs of dealing with vacant and abandoned properties fall mainly to local governments, which are often unable to break the cycle of foreclosure to abandonment to blight. They are thwarted by heavy costs, the lack of a timely legal mechanism to acquire properties, liability concerns, and no overarching strategy to address the problems at a regional level. Land banks provide that mechanism." (Breaking the Housing Crisis Cycle: Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, 2008, pg. 18)
A: The Cuyahoga Land Bank is governed by a Board of Directors. Ohio law requires a minimum of five Directors, including the county treasurer and two of the three county commissioners, or in the case of Cuyahoga County, the appointed Treasurer, the County Executive and a County Council representative. The Code of Regulations of the Cuyahoga Land Bank requires two additional Directors from the municipality in the County with the largest population. The Board of Directors is authorized to employ an executive director who will be responsible for the daily management and operations of the Cuyahoga Land Bank.
A: 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.
A: The Cuyahoga Land Bank's Code of Regulations requires the Board of Directors to convene a regular meeting at least once every calendar quarter and to convene an annual meeting on the third Thursday of March in each year or on any date after that third Thursday, but in no event later than April 30th. Board of Directors' meetings will generally be held in Room 140 of Lakeside Place, 323 Lakeside Ave. NW, the building in which the Cuyahoga Land Bank's offices are located.
A: The Cuyahoga Land Bank has a few sources that will fund its mission. At the most basic level, the Cuyahoga Land Bank will receive annually a certain portion of the penalties and interest that accrue on delinquent property taxes. To be entitled to receive this base level funding, the Cuyahoga County Treasurer (the Treasurer) must make early advances of these delinquent taxes to the taxing districts from his daily balances to the various cities, schools and special taxing districts in Cuyahoga County. To the extent penalties and interest from delinquent taxes are used to fund the Cuyahoga Land Bank, no direct or primary tax dollars are used. While the County is not prohibited from supporting the Cuyahoga Land Bank, it does not do so out of its general funds nor is the County liable for the obligations of the Cuyahoga Land Bank. Legally, the Cuyahoga Land Bank is a separate and distinct entity from the County government.
The Cuyahoga Land Bank is also authorized to receive tax foreclosed properties, most of them having negative equity, along with others having positive equity. Positive equity properties will be stabilized and resold where possible, the proceeds from which will be used to fund the continued mission of the Cuyahoga Land Bank, i.e., demolition, stabilization and rehabilitation of substandard properties. Additional outside sources of funding include, but are not limited to, gifts, grants and loans, including the issuance of its bonds.
A: Although the bulk of the problems arising from the foreclosure crisis arise in the City of Cleveland and inner ring suburbs of Cuyahoga County, the Cuyahoga Land Bank is authorized to service all of Cuyahoga County commensurate with funding and priority of need.
A: No, Cuyahoga County is not liable for, nor obligated to pay the debts and contracts of, the Cuyahoga Land Bank. The Cuyahoga Land Bank is a separate corporation under Ohio law which can incur debts and borrow money under its own corporate name without expense to taxpayers.
A: The Board of Directors of the Cuyahoga Land Bank will hire a President for the Cuyahoga Land Bank who in turn hires the Cuyahoga Land Bank's staff.
A: The Cuyahoga Land Bank has a publicly available Web site [www.cuyahogalandbank.org] on which periodic updates on programmatic operations are posted, along with information on the scheduled Board meetings. The Web site can direct readers to Cuyahoga Land Bank forms and programs
A: The three main sources of properties obtained by the Cuyahoga Land Bank will be tax foreclosures, abandoned privately foreclosed properties from banks (REOs) and other lenders, Fannie Mae, HUD, Housing referrals, and occasional donations to the Cuyahoga Land Bank.
A: Unlike land banks that are programs within local governments, the Cuyahoga Land Bank is a County land bank, but administered by a separate nonprofit corporation with its own source of funding. While many city land banks will not acquire property with buildings, the Cuyahoga Land Bank may, after proper assessment, and based on funding capabilities, acquire these properties. The Cuyahoga Land Bank was designed by the Ohio legislature to operate efficiently and more like private enterprise, but pursuant to a public mission.
A: The Cuyahoga Land Bank will assess each property it acquires and determine whether it should be demolished, rehabilitated and sold or rented, or boarded up in order to make a future determination of the property's highest and best use. Additionally, partnerships with end users and institutions (churches, hospitals, private developments, NEORSD and agricultural cooperatives will be forged to foster alternative reuses of once distress properties.
A: No. City land banks will have the first chance to acquire any property in their municipalities. The Cuyahoga Land Bank will encourage a Memorandum of Understanding with each municipality to work out any desired protocols between them.
A: The Cuyahoga Land Bank will take many, but not all, vacant and abandoned tax foreclosed properties that do not contain unwarranted environmental risks. The Cuyahoga Land Bank will determine what mortgage foreclosed properties it will acquire (typically $1.00) based on consideration of available funding, carrying expense, demolition cost, environmental risk, and strategic factors in cooperation with Cuyahoga County municipalities.