How is a land bank funded?

Land banks are generally funded through a variety of sources, which may include revenue from the sale of properties, foundation grants, general fund appropriations from local and county governments, and federal and state grants. Land banks in certain states have received significant funding from the federal Hardest Hit Funds (for example, Michigan and Ohio) and the National Mortgage Settlement Funds (for example, New York and Illinois).

A couple of financing mechanisms unique to land banks have been included in state-enabling legislation. For instance, in Michigan and New York, land banks are able to recapture 50% of the taxes on properties returned to the tax rolls for five years. In Ohio, special fees imposed on delinquent taxpayers provide a dedicated source of funding for land bank operations. Finding consistent and preferably dedicated funding sources is critical to the success of land banks, as they incur significant costs converting unsafe liabilities the private market has rejected into assets that improve neighborhood vitality. Several of the more successful land banks from around the country are also capitalized by their local units of government either through yearly budget allocations or in-kind assistance such as shared staffing.