Depending on state and local law, land banks often have unique legal powers to support their activities and facilitate the return of problem properties to productive use. Though these statutes differ widely from state to state, they generally grant the following powers:
• Obtain property at low or no cost through the tax foreclosure process
• Hold land tax-free
• Clear title and/or extinguish back taxes
• Lease properties for temporary uses
• Negotiate sales based not only on the highest bid but also on the outcome that most closely aligns with community needs, such as workforce housing, a grocery store, or green space
Using these special powers, land banks can streamline blight removal and create a nimble, accountable, and community-driven approach to returning problem properties to productive use.