Quiet Title Actions
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.