April Board Meeting

Our Board of Directors regularly meets on the first Thursday of each month at Birmingham City Hall.
3rd Floor Conference Rooms D and E
710 North 20th Street
Birmingham, Alabama 35203

Our next meeting will take place on April 4, 2019 at 2pm.

BLBA Applications

Laying the foundation for an efficient and effective program has been our goal. Our staff of three has done a tremendous job in managing the overwhelming workload. We are extremely proud of all that has been accomplished with the resources at hand. We have learned numerous lessons in crafting this program and look forward to seeing the great benefit it will have as a tool in conjunction with the other efforts to push neighborhood revitalization in Birmingham.

We’ve organized the demand and created a process to apply, review, approve and see those properties through clear title. Due to a myriad of external issues, it hasn’t been as efficient as we desire, but this program has been constructed from the ground up with no other operational example to follow under Alabama statutory and case law. We continue to improve each day.

Since program inception, we have received over 4,700 applications. We know that the desire of our citizens and organizations with a vested interest in neighborhood revitalization continues to grow. We also know that our staff of three must develop a system to analyze and process each application when we open back up. Our team aims to be able to provide applicants with up to date information and an accurate timeline.

We hope to start accepting applications as soon as possible and ask that you bear with us as we work to craft an application process that benefits staff and the public.

As always, the Land Bank Authority will make the most of the resources allocated to us to serve the people of The City of Birmingham.

Join us at a Board meeting. We meet on the first Thursday of each month at 2pm. Check back at www.birminghamlandbank.org periodically to see announcements regarding meeting times.

Also, please reach out if you would like BLBA staff to address your group. This is a complex issue and we want to ensure that each of our communities is equipped to take advantage of opportunties to take advantage of the services that the BLBA offers.

 

BLBA January Special Meeting

The January 3rd regular meeting of the Birmingham Land Bank Authority Board of Directors has been cancelled.

The Board will hold a special meeting on January 10th at 2pm in the 5th Floor PEP Conference Room at Birmingham City Hall.

Agenda to follow.

Location: 710 North 20th Street, Birmingham Al 35203- 7th Floor

 

 

Special Board Meeting 12.14.18

SUBJECT:       Agenda for a Special Meeting of the Birmingham Land Bank Authority Board of Directors at Birmingham City Hall, Conference Room D , 3:00 p.m. on Friday, December 14, 2018.

AGENDA

12.14.1            Approval of Catalytic Development, Property Acquisition and Transfer Agreement between the Birmingham Land Bank Authority and Titusville Development Corporation -Action

November Board Meeting

The November meeting of the Birmingham Land Bank Authority Board of Directors will take place on November 8, 2018 at Birmingham City Hall in the 7th Floor Conference Rooms at 2pm.

710 North 20th Street

7th Floor

Birmingham, Alabama 35203

Our Board of Directors regularly meets on the first Thursday of each month at Birmingham City Hall.
3rd Floor Conference Rooms D and E
710 North 20th Street
Birmingham, Alabama 35203

NOTE: INCREASED BASE PURCHASE PRICE

Recently, applicants and purchasers were notified of an increase in the purchase price of parcels through the Birmingham Land Bank Authority  (BLBA) General Request program.

Since program inception, the former base price, $3,500.00, to the purchaser has meant that the BLBA would sell each parcel at a loss. In order to clear title to each of these parcels, the BLBA must file a Quiet Title Action as outlined in Alabama code 24-9-1.The expenses of the quiet title action and closing cost easily exceeded the set price by $1,500.00. As the popularity of the program grew, the amount of money allocated that would cover the $1,500.00 per parcel did not grow. The BLBA has been exposed for the cost of acquisition minus earnest money deposits. There are currently around 200 parcels scheduled to go through the courts. These will cost the BLBA, on average, around $5,000.00 per each parcel. Completing the sale of each of these parcels at the former price will leave the BLBA with a deficit of $300,000.00, plus an additional deficit of $120,000.00 in closing costs.

Unfortunately the BLBA had no choice, with its current funding, but to increase the purchase to eliminate the deficit in each transaction. The new base price has been set at $5,000.00. 

The Board of Directors and Staff of the BLBA are working to establish the land bank as a self-sustaining entity. This will ultimately enable us to transfer properties at rates that meet all of the communities needs. We recognize, appreciate and aim to collaborate with the numerous citizens and organizations doing great works in each of Birmingham’s 99 neighborhoods.

In order to reach this goal, we cannot continue to operate at a deficit. 

If you would like to learn more about the operations of the BLBA, we will schedule two sessions later this month where we will go through the property tax foreclosure laws and land bank enabling legislation and how the BLBA has navigated them in its early years.

Learn more by visiting our ABOUT page.

BACKGROUND

The number of abandoned and dilapidated structures in the City of Birmingham continues to grow each year. Many of these properties are tax delinquent and become public nuisances which require action by the City of Birmingham to abate the nuisance, for example, by demolishing a dilapidated structure or cutting an overgrown lot.

Whenever the City of Birmingham cuts an overgrown lot or demolishes a structure on a property, it attaches a lien to that property. The liens that the City attaches to each property are rarely paid. These liens can eventually total into tens of thousands of dollars and make acquisition of a property through normal market conditions infeasible. 

These liens combined with clouded title can make acquisition of a property in fee simple financially impossible.

It is important to note that there are numerous routes one can take to acquire tax delinquent property. Through the Birmingham Land Bank, the purchaser receives fee simple ownership of the parcel with CLEAR TITLE via a Warranty deed that warrants against all defects in the title. In order to clear title to each of these parcels, the BLBA must file a Quiet Title Action as outlined in Alabama code 24-9-1.The BLBA also extinguishes municipal liens and assessments with the goals to make fee simple ownership of each property, financially feasible.

Why has it taken so long?

Sewer Liens

The BLBA hopes that an agreement with Jefferson County on the outstanding sewer liens attached to land bank eligible parcels. 

The issue has stalled action on around 35% of our acquisitions.

Title Insurance

From the end of 2016 until January of 2018, the BLBA was unable to close on the sale of a single property due to refusal by many title insurance companies to issue title insurance policies for tax delinquent property.

The primary reason for the delay in closings was due to concerns by some title insurers over verification of compliance with the very thorough statutory process the Land Bank must follow in order to clear tile to tax delinquent properties. (A property is generally ineligible for government programming and development/renovation financing without it being able to have its title insured.)

Land Bank attorneys and staff worked with several title insurance companies to develop processes to enable the insurers to be comfortable insuring the titles of properties processed through our program.

We are now working to clear the backlog of closings that developed so that ownership of the properties can be transferred to citizens and organizations ready to put return the properties to productive use.

Applications

Each application received must be reviewed and vetted. Each purchase contract is not a simple purchase contract, but a development agreement. The goals of the program are to put the purchaser in position of have fee simple ownership of a property and to be able to fully invest in the parcel without the possibility that someone will come back and redeem the property.

The vetting also is in place to interrupt the passive speculative market associated with tax delinquent properties that is detriment to Birmingham.

The number of applications received by the three member BLBA staff has now exceeded 4,500. BLBA staff is working to have an efficient system in place by January that will allow for clear communication and status updates on each acquisition.

While we have faced numerous obstacles in building a program from scratch, it is important to note that the amount 140+ parcels that have gone through the court system and are ready to close represent a huge milestone in putting tax delinquent properties back to productive use.

Our team is on the ground and wants to ensure that each and every individual/organization is able to invest and improve their neighborhood. 

Definitions

Tax Delinquent Property- Property taxes in the State of Alabama become due annually on October 1st. On January 1st of the next year, they become delinquent. Tax certificates on delinquent properties are sold each year in May.

Fee Simple- Land owned in fee simple is owned completely without any limitations or conditions.

Land Bank Eligible Properties- Properties that go unsold in the County tax sale are then deemed sold to the State of Alabama Department of Revenue(ADOR). A property must sit with the ADOR and be delinquent for five years before it is eligible to be acquired by the Birmingham Land Bank Authority.

Quiet Title Action- A lawsuit filed to clear and quiet the title of properties in which the Birmingham Land Bank Authority has acquired the tax deed. This lawsuit requires an attorney to examine the title of a property and notify anyone with an interest in the property (heirs, lienholders,and mortgagees) that a petition to quiet title has been filed. Any party that has been determined to have an interest in the property has the ability to redeem (pay the back taxes, interest and any fees incurred) the property in accordance with Ala. Code Title 40, Chapter 10 up until the date of final judgement. With a final judgement, the Court may grant fee simple title to the property, which shall vest title absolutely in the BLBA. The BLBA will then have ability to convey property with marketable and insurable title to a new owner.

Special September Board Meeting

Our regularly scheduled board meeting will take place Monday 9/17 at 3pm.

710 North 20th Street

7th Floor, Legal Conference Room

Birmingham, Al 35203

Items to be discussed include: Board Officers, Update (Operations, Quiet Titles Actions, Closings, Finances), Hurdles (Sewer Liens, Education, Staff and Funding)

The BLBA has made great strides as the first municipal land bank to operate in Alabama and under Alabama’s unique property tax foreclosure laws.

Please join us for this monthly update.

Play your part in Neighborhood Revitalization

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Neighborhood Revitalization involves the cooperation/collaboration of all parties.

Property owners must maintain their properties and stay current on their property taxes.

Every yard cut and every house torn down represents thousands of dollars that the city of Birmingham must spend on property that it does not own.

Every property tax bill that goes unpaid represents revenue to that city will not have to fund operations.

Play your part. Make sure that you aren’t one of the many absentee landowners that neglect their properties or fail to pay taxes.

Also, you are ineligible to purchase property from the Land Bank if you own tax delinquent property or own code deficient property.

Check the attached list to see if you currently own property in the Birmingham Division of Jefferson County that is delinquent.

Birmingham Division Delinquent Properties

Bessemer Division Properties

 

Special July Board Meeting

DATE: July 18, 2018

TO: Board of Directors of the City of Birmingham Land Bank Authority

Mayor Randall L. Woodfin
John Cantelow, III
Chris Cummings
Charles Ball
Gwendolyn Bates Calhoun
Marshall Anderson

FROM: Eric Fancher, Administrator

SUBJECT: Agenda for a Special Called Meeting of the City of the Birmingham Land Bank Authority Board of Directors at Birmingham City Hall, 7th Floor Conference Room , 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 18, 2018.

ROLL CALL
INVOCATION- Reverend John Cantelow

AGENDA

7.18.1 Approval of minutes for May/June Meetings- Action
7.18.2 Resolution authorizing the Birmingham Land Bank Authority to enter into agreement to perform closing services on behalf of the Authority.- Action

OLD BUSINESS
NEW BUSINESS
ADJOURNMENT