Quiet Title Actions

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Many properties in Birmingham have become unmarketable and, in turn, unusable because the properties are burdened by the piling on of various sorts of government-created liens (tax liens, weed liens, demolition liens, etc.) and/or have clouded titles. 

Over time, property owners lose interest in maintaining the property because the property becomes a financial liability, rather than an asset. As our neighborhoods accumulate more and more of these properties, instances of nuisances mutate into areas of blight.

The City of Birmingham is littered with thousands of these blighted properties that act as nuisances to those who matter most, our citizens. The City of Birmingham is tasked with maintaining thousands of these properties that do not belong to the City, but to absent and delinquent owners. 

However, thanks to legislation that authorized local land banks in Alabama, the good news is that it does not have to stay that way. 

The enabling legislation gives Land Banks the ability to initiate an expedited quiet title action. This action allows the Birmingham Land Bank(BLBA) to initiate a lawsuit against anyone and everyone that has an ownership interest in an eligible tax-delinquent property that the BLBA has taken an interest in. 

The parties in these lawsuits range from family members of owners who passed away without wills, mortgage holders that foreclosed on underwater properties, slumlords, absentee property owners to tax lien speculators who have lost interest. All of the properties have been tax delinquent for at least five years or more and have been identified by individual applicants or staff for redevelopment or reuse.  

The BLBA will research and notify all persons with an ownership interest and ensure that they all have received notice and an opportunity to be heard up until the final hearing held in Circuit Court. Prior owners and interest holders have the ability to redeem the property from the BLBA on or before the final hearing date for the amount of past-due taxes and interest/related fees. 

If no party redeems, full ownership is granted to the BLBA and all liens and assessments against the property are extinguished by the Circuit Court. 

The BLBA has been fortunate to have Judges Carole Smitherman, Pat Ballard, and Donald Blankenship preside over 500 of its quiet title actions since inception. This legal action is freeing up hundreds of blighted properties and making them available for redevelopment. 

Together, we look forward to putting more problem properties back to productive use. 

 

Special Called Joint Special Projects Committee/Board of Directors Meeting 1.14.21

 

1.13.21 BLBA Special Meeting Notice

Date: Thursday, January 14, 2021
Time: 2:00pm

The purpose of and agenda for the meeting will be for the BLBA Board to accomplish limited
business that is necessary to perform essential minimum functions of the BLBA including, but
not limited to, the incorporation of the Non-Profit Foundation by the BLBA.

On March 18, 2020, Governor Ivey issued a Proclamation authorizing the BLBA Board
to meet by telephone/video conference under certain circumstances. In accordance with the
Governor’s Proclamation, this meeting will be held by telephone/video conference through this
Cisco Webex platform.

Meeting number: 146 859 1013
Password: szPpRXpp676
https://birmingham.webex.com/birmingham/j.php?MTID=mf65bc783b50ea8ccf44daae45e35c7b
5
+1-415-655-0002 United States Toll
+1-312-535-8110 United States Toll (Chicago)
Access code: 146 859 1013

December 18, 2020 Birmingham Land Bank Meeting Recap

A Special Called Meeting of the Birmingham Land Bank Authority Board of Directors was held on December 18, 2020.

Minutes can be found here: Revised 12.18.20 BLBA Special Board Meeting Minutes

Presentation Slides from the Meeting can be found here: December182020BoardMeeting [Autosaved]

 

December 18, 2020 Special Called Meeting of the Birmingham Land Bank Authority Board of Directors

View a recording by visiting the following link:

https://birmingham.webex.com/birmingham/ldr.php?RCID=5987d885c3df40b78c32cd926f31f8e1

Password: Landbank121820

December Board Meeting Notice

AGENDA-12.10.20 Board Meeting Agenda

 

NOTICE OF SPECIAL MEETING

OF THE BIRMINGHAM LAND BANK AUTHORITY BOARD

As Chairman of the Birmingham Land Bank Authority Board, I am calling a special virtual meeting of the Board to occur:

Date: Thursday, December 10 , 2020

Time: 2:00pm

The purpose of and agenda for the meeting will be for the BLBA Board to accomplish limited business that is necessary to perform essential minimum functions of the BLBA, including, but not limited to, the approval of acquisitions from the Alabama Department of Revenue, Authorization to enter into program agreements, professional services agreements, sales agreements, and presentation of an operations update.

On March 18, 2020, Governor Ivey issued a Proclamation authorizing the BLBA Board to meet by telephone conference under certain circumstances.  In accordance with the Governor’s Proclamation, I am directing that the meeting be held by telephone conference through the Cisco Webex platform as set forth by following the link below, which shall serve as the place of the meeting:

Meeting number:

146 916 6753

Password:

PTu7wCEtm77

https://birmingham.webex.com/birmingham/j.php?MTID=mf5d3e70b71566a1b5402187be7f6dcf3
+1-415-655-0002 United States Toll

+1-312-535-8110 United States Toll (Chicago)

Access code: 146 916 6753

The communication equipment identified above allows all persons participating in the meeting to hear one another at the same time. Anyone other than a member of the Board or an official or employee recognized by the Chairman is asked to mute their telephone.

The BLBA Administrator is directed, no more than twelve hours following the conclusion of the meeting conducted pursuant to this notice, to post a summary of the meeting in a prominent location on the BLBA’s website.  The summary shall recount the deliberations conducted and the actions taken with reasonable specificity to allow the public to understand what happened.

Marshall Anderson, Chairman

BLBA August Application Updates

July Quick Updates

Why quiet the title?

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.

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.

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.

The BLBA utilizes several programs to make available these delinquent properties to citizens, nonprofits and developers. Two of these programs, Adopt-A-Lot and Side-Lot, are 2 year lease programs. At the end of the 2-year term, applicants have the option to walk away, obtain a quitclaim deed of the interest held by the Birmingham Land Bank (at no cost) or go through the Quiet Title program to obtain a statutory warranty deed to the property. These programs allow applicants to utilize and maintain vacant eligible lots while saving money to acquire fee simple ownership of the property through our Quiet Title Program if they so choose.

If someone chooses to obtain a quitclaim deed, at no additional cost, to a property, then the BLBA has the ability to convey its interest in that property via a quitclaim deed. In conveying its interest in a property by quitclaim deed, the BLBA does not make any warranties concerning the title to the property, including the existence of mortgages, liens, restrictive covenants or any other title defects.

Through the Quiet Title Program, the BLBA will file a quiet title action on the property to clear all back taxes, municipal assessments, and any other outstanding claims on the property so that the buyer will obtain full ownership with a Statutory Warranty Deed.

Each conveyance from the BLBA through its Quiet Title Program is through a Warranty Deed. This guarantees clear and insurable title to the property. The BLBA does make specific warranties concerning the title to the property, including the existence of mortgages, liens, restrictive covenants or any other title defects through this program.

Application Status

We are experiencing difficulties with our property management system. Application statuses should be updated and reflecting recent board decisions. We are working with our provider to hopefully have this resolved by July 27th.

Please login to your account to check your status.

We apologize for any inconvenience and look forward to working with our prevailing applicants.

June 19, 2020 Special Meeting

AGENDA: NOTICE OF SPECIAL MEETING June 19, 2020

 

NOTICE OF SPECIAL MEETING

OF THE BIRMINGHAM LAND BANK AUTHORITY BOARD

 

As Chairman of the Birmingham Land Bank Authority Board, I am calling a special meeting of the Board to occur:

 

Date:               Friday, June 19, 2020

Time:              11:30 a.m.

 

The purpose of and agenda for the meeting will be for the BLBA Board to accomplish limited business that is necessary to perform essential minimum functions of the BLBA, including, but not limited to, the approval of acquisitions from the Alabama Department of Revenue, and the approval of an Amendment of the Property and Data management services agreement with Eproperty Innovations, LLC for the 2020-2021 year, Authorization to enter into sales contracts with program applicants.

 

On March 18, 2020, Governor Ivey issued a Proclamation authorizing the BLBA Board to meet by telephone conference under certain circumstances.  In accordance with the Governor’s Proclamation, I am directing that the meeting be held by telephone conference through the LoopUp platform as set forth below, which shall serve as the place of the meeting:

 

Dial in:

(by joining, you agree to the privacy policy at loopup.com)

Guest Dial-in Code: 2464183#

USA (Toll): +1 (312) 212-3078

 

The communication equipment identified above allows all persons participating in the meeting to hear one another at the same time.  Public comments will not be allowed.  Anyone other than a member of the Board or an official or employee recognized by the Chairman is asked to mute their telephone.

 

The BLBA Administrator is directed, no less than twelve hours following the conclusion of the meeting conducted pursuant to this notice, to post a summary of the meeting in a prominent location on the BLBA’s website.  The summary shall recount the deliberations conducted and the actions taken with reasonable specificity to allow the public to understand what happened.

Marshall Anderson, Chairman

 

Application Update

We received over 300 applications in January and for our Immediate Acquisition Program.

Our team has reviewed these recently submitted applications. We will be contacting you if we need any further information. Some immediate acquisition parcels will be re-listed, please check the Immediate Acquisition page for more information.

Our board must approve applications submitted by staff. Due to the COVID19 emergency, Open Meeting guidelines have restricted the business that our board has been able to carry out due to meetings being held remotely.

We hope to have application decisions communicated to you on or before June 19th.