What is a land bank?

A land bank is a public authority created to hold, manage, and develop tax delinquent, vacant, and dilapidated and other properties.-foreclosed property. Land banks act as a legal and financial mechanism to transform vacant, abandoned, and tax-foreclosed property back to a productive use. In addition, a land bank is a powerful locational incentive that, which encourages redevelopment in distressed, blighted communities that generally have little available land  Metro Atlanta Land Bank revitalizes blighted neighborhoods with direct reinvestment back into the Atlanta and Fulton County neighborhoods to support their long-term growth.

Why have a land bank?

Land is one of the most important factors in economic development and must be well managed to improve existing land use practices, enhance affordability and livability of communities, and support local community development. In a certified study by the Brookings Institute, it was cited that on average 15% of the land in major American cities is vacant. Vacant land and abandoned property do not produce sufficient, and most often any, property tax revenue. This lack of funding impedes a city’s ability to sustain its operations, invest in schools, improve its programs, and adequately complete its services, such as infrastructure maintenance. Additionally, it discourages responsible property ownership, depresses property values, attracts crime, and has the potential to create health hazards.

By transferring vacant and abandoned properties to responsible landowners through  land banking programs, local governments benefit because they:
  • Avoid the significant cost burden of property maintenance, including mowing, trash removal, and up to demolition.
  • Increased revenue due to new, responsible property owners paying taxes on their property, which positively impacts school funding.
  • Reduce crime creating safer, cleaner communities.