Applications are now being accepted for the Birmingham Land Bank Authority Lot Lease and Quiet Title Programs

Here is what you need to know:

Visit www.birminghamlandbank.org and familiarize yourself with the Birmingham Land Bank Authority, programming and news.

  • Applications are being accepted for our Lot Lease and Quiet Title Programs.

    • We will accept applications until January 31, 2020. We will then close for the month of February to ensure each of them is evaluated and processed.
    • Applications are being accepted for our Lease (Adopt-A-Lot/Side-Lot) and Quiet Title Programs.
    • We have a number of unsold properties from our Quiet Title Program that we will be putting up under our Immediate Acquisition Program. Check back for updates on that process.
  • General Information

    Quiet Title Program

    • The Quiet Title Action typically takes 4-6 months from the time the case is assigned to an attorney.
    • The Base fee for the Quiet Title Program is $5,000.00. This pays for the costs to quiet title.

    Lot Lease (Adopt-a-Lot/Side-Lot)

    • The term of your agreement starts when the BLBA receives and records the deed to the property in its name. This can take from 4-8 weeks following a request for the deed.
    • The fee for this program is $50.00.
  • Photograph Requirements

    The application requires you to upload pictures of the outside of the property that you are applying for and pictures of your home. This means you have to visit and familiarize yourself with the property you want to acquire.

    We will also require you to list and provide information and photographs on all properties that you own in the City of Birmingham in our efforts to screen your history of property ownership and maintenance.

    For more information, check our How to Apply page.

  • Plan

    You will need to put forth a good faith effort in thinking through plans that you have for the property that you are applying for. Be as detailed as possible by listing potential contractors that you plan to use, source of funds, any previous rehabilitation experience, and a potential timeline. You will have time to fine tune this document during the inspection period.

A Note on the Application and Upcoming Efforts

The Birmingham Land Bank Authority has made great strides in the last four years. The number one issue with tax delinquent property in Alabama and across the country is obtaining fee simple ownership with insurable title. A process that can take generally over six years now can be done in six months through the process that the BLBA staff and contractors have perfected. A clear process now exists to take once unmarketable parcels and put them back into productive use.

The Birmingham Land Bank Authority (BLBA) is here to encourage investment in tax delinquent PROPERTY, not tax liens. When you acquire through BLBA programming, the terms of the purchase agreement and deed restrictions are put in place to make sure you invest in the property and adhere to completing the improvements that you commit to do during our application process.

We have sold over 200 properties and cleared title to many more, with the majority of sales going to individual citizens (Check back for a detailed statistics page that is under construction).

Unfortunately, a number of those sales have gone to people that continue to let the property sit in its deteriorated state. We also receive applications from many individuals and entities that already own a number of dilapidated, code deficient/tax delinquent properties and have no plans to improve their status. The BLBA expends a tremendous amount of time and resources in clearing title and extinguishing liens to each property that goes through the Quiet Title Program.

The BLBA wants to ensure that the property it conveys is improved, maintained and a benefit to the community that it is located in. For those reasons, we have updated our application process to screen applicants on the front end and make sure purchasers are committed and able to improving problem properties in our neighborhoods.

The BLBA understands that there are a number of constraints that, even with a low acquisition cost, hinder improvement of problem properties. Collaboration across agencies, entities, sectors and individuals must take place for us to remedy this issue.

Our goal is not just to return tax delinquent property to the tax rolls. We aim to reduce blight, stabilize neighborhoods, facilitate community redevelopment and empower citizens.

We invite you to join us over the next few months for several conversations on neighborhood revitalization. Check back on our website for additional information as it is posted.

Questions or comments?  Submit them through our Contact page by clicking here.

After reviewing all informational materials and application documents, please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or comments. We realize that every situation is different and will work with those that are putting good faith efforts into bettering their community.

Three Frequently Asked Questions

The Property that I am interested in is not listed. What do I do?

Click here to learn how to check eligibility on a property that you think may be eligible.

If you find that the parcel has been sold to state for five years or more and is unoccupied, you may submit that information to us so that we can investigate and make it available for application.

Click here to submit parcel information on our Contact Us page.

Why go through this program when I can buy "tax property" elsewhere?

Acquiring Tax Delinquent Property

Acquisition of tax delinquent property is growing in popularity. Historically, investors have utilized the tax sale process to passively speculate on tax liens throughout the city. They have acquired interests in properties to buy and hold until someone else either redeems the property or wants to buy the property as-is from the initial investor.

Before we go any further, please understand that the Birmingham Land Bank Authority(BLBA) is here to encourage investment in tax delinquent PROPERTY, not tax liens. When you acquire through BLBA programming, the terms of the purchase agreement and deed restrictions are put in place to make sure you invest in the property and adhere to completing the improvements that you commit to do during our application process.

Many individuals acquire interests in tax delinquent property through different avenues. These include the Jefferson County Tax Sale, Alabama Department of Revenue and the private market.

Jefferson County Tax Sale

For the purposes of passive speculation, the aforementioned routes may be the way to go. The BLBA aims to interrupt the passive speculation market. Individuals and entities interested in revitalizing their neighborhoods often are met with problems after purchasing an interest in a tax delinquent property that does not have clear insurable title. Absent a large amount of capital, the average purchaser likely needs some sort of financing product to improve these problem properties. Financial institutions generally require a property to have clear insurable title before they offer any construction or renovation products that attach to the property.

On the Alabama Department of Revenue’s Tax Delinquent Property Page, they specifically state that “…neither an assignment nor a tax deed gives the holder clear title to the parcel.” Furthermore, they state that “It is advisable to consult a competent attorney regarding your contemplated purchase of tax delinquent property.” This is important to note as many people are eager to jump in and purchase a tax interest in a property without fully being aware of the restrictions.

It is possible to get clear title after acquiring a tax interest from the state, tax sale or private market. It is often much more costly than the value of the property.

  • 3 year adverse possession holding period after obtaining tax deed
  • Indefinite “judicial right of redemption” – now codified = uncertain title
  • Quiet title cases are costly, time consuming, subject to time restraints

During the process, purchasers can be responsible for back taxes, municipal liens and assessments and a variety of other items in addition to attorney’s fees.

The Birmingham Land Bank Authority has the ability to clear these back taxes, municipal liens and assessments and the authority to institute quiet title actions on properties that are at least five years tax delinquent. We aim to make development and investment in these problem properties financially feasible.

Each conveyance from the BLBA through its Quiet Title Program is through a Warranty Deed. This guarantees clear and insurable title to the property.

What does the BLBA do to clear title?

Following your successful application process, the BLBA staff pushes the property through the process outlined below:

Legal Action Required on All BLBA Property Acquisitions

  1. The record title must be examined and an opinion of title must be rendered by an attorney at law, who is licensed to practice law in Alabama, or a certificate of title must have been prepared by a licensed title agent or insurer.
  2. The authority must file a petition with the Circuit Clerk of Jefferson County, Alabama that lists the property subject to foreclosure by the BLBA and for which the BLBA seeks to quiet title. This must include the legal description, tax parcel identification number and street address of each property. Note: Quiet title action cannot affect any rights to property held by electric power, natural gas, or telecommunications utilities
  3. A notice of Lis Pendens must be filed and recorded with the Office of the Judge of Probate of Jefferson County, Alabama.
  4. The authority must then serve all persons having record title or interest in or lien upon the property with a notice of the hearing on the petition to quiet title.
  5. The notice required shall include:
    1. date on which the land bank authority recorded lis pendens
    2. statement that a person with a property interest may lose such interest
    3. legal description, tax parcel identification number and street address
    4. date and time of hearing and statement that judgment of the court may result in title to the property vesting in the authority
    5. explanation of any rights of redemption
    6. name, address, and telephone number of the BLBA
  6. In the event the Authority is unable to perfect service or certified mail attempts are returned unclaimed, the authority conducts a thorough search for the person with an interest in the property conveyed to the authority.
  7. A sign being no less than four feet by four feet must be erected on the property and maintained by the authority for a minimum of 30 days reading as follows:
    1. “THIS PROPERTY HAS BEEN CONVEYED TO THE BIRMINGHAM LAND BANK AUTHORITY AND IS SUBJECT TO A QUIET TITLE ACTION. PERSONS WITH INFORMATION REGARDING THE PRIOR OWNERSHIP OF OR INTEREST IN THE PROPERTY ARE REQUESTED TO CONTACT THE LAND BANK AUTHORITY AT (205) 254-2369. THE BIRMINGHAM LAND BANK AUTHORITY IS LOCATED AT: 710NORTH 20TH STREET, BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA 35203”
  8. Any additional parties who are subsequently identified as having an interest in the property must be provided notice in of the hearing on this petition to quiet title.
  9. Throughout the process and up until the issuance of a final order, an eligible party may assert a right to redeem at the hearing or in the offices of the authority, that party may redeem in accordance with Chapter 10 of Title 40 of the Code of Alabama. Alabama redemption laws are VERY generous to prior owners.
  10. Notice must also be given by publication prior to the hearing Notice by publication must be published once each week for 3 successive weeks in newspaper of general circulation in Jefferson County.
  11.  A guardian ad litem will be appointed by the Judge and paid by the BLBA to represent and defend the interest of any unknown, infant or incompetent parties in the action.
  12. The Circuit Court will hear any objections by persons claiming interest the property. They may appoint a special master for assistance with resolution of any objections or questions regarding title.
  13. The Circuit Court will then enter a judgement within 30 days following the hearing in favor of the BLBA.  The order will note the following:
    1. legal description, tax parcel identification number, and street address of property
    2. that fee simple title is vested absolutely in the land bank authority without any further rights of redemption
    3. that all liens against the property, including any lien for unpaid taxes or special assessments, are extinguished
    4. that, except for certain interests (recorded easement or right-of-way, restrictive covenant, prior reservation or severance of all mineral, mining, oil and gas rights within and underlying the property, such state of facts as shown on recorded plats, or restrictions or covenants imposed under the Alabama Land Recycling and Economic Development Act or any other environmental law in effect in the state, severed oil, gas, and mineral rights and mineral leases and agreements) the land bank authority has good and marketable fee simple title to the property
    5. that all existing recorded and unrecorded interests in the property are extinguished
    6. finding that all persons entitled to notice and an opportunity to be heard were such notice and opportunity
    7. that the land bank authority provided notice to all interested parties or  complied with the publication notice procedures for parties who could not be located or identified
  14. The BLBA must then record the circuit court’s final order at the Jefferson County Probate Court.
  15. BLBA staff must pay Quiet Title fees upon receipt of the circuit court’s final order. This includes several items:
    1. Quiet Title Counsel Fees
    2. Guardian ad litem overage fees
    3. Publication overage fees