Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Baltimore Housings Vacants to Value Initiative?

Vacants to Value is a new initiative which streamlines the sale of city-owned properties and uses the private market to maximize the repair and rehabilitation of vacant properties.

How can I purchase a Baltimore City owned property?

Baltimore Housings' Land Resources Division sells properties and land under its supervision through various methods. To learn more about the methods, please click here .

What are the advantages to purchasing a City-Owned property?

Purchasing a home that needs rehabilitation provides the opportunity to buy at a discount compared to a property that is in move-in condition. The list price for the home is typically much lower and with various loan products, you can create your dream home, help the economy and strengthen the neighborhood. With hundreds of city-owned properties throughout various charming Baltimore neighborhoods, homebuyers can choose from many housing styles and price ranges.

How can I purchase the vacant lot next to my home?

If your home is adjacent to a city-owned vacant lot, you can purchase the space and transform the lot into your personal garden, expand your existing yard space or possibly add a parking pad to your property. The City of Baltimores Side Yard program has a low-cost solution to make the property your own. Certain restrictions apply. To learn more, please call 410.396.4111.

Does the Division of Land Resources check on my financial resources before awarding a property? Why?

Yes. All buyers must complete an application and supply details on how the property will be used and rehabilitated. Additionally, you must provide a letter of approval from a lending institution if you are obtaining financial assistance from a lending institution and/or a bank statement showing available funds. Baltimore Housing requires evidence that you have the financial resources for the purchase price and the completion of the rehabilitation of the property of interest.

For example, you may offer only $5,000 for an abandoned property, which may represent the appraised value. If the house requires $50,000 in rehab in order to bring the property up to code, Land Resources will require proof that you have the financial resources for $55,000 in order to approve your application.

How will Baltimore City Land Resources streamline the code enforcement process?

On transitional blocks where the housing market is generally healthy and true abandonment is minimal, new enforcement processes including Citation Warning Letter and the Vacant Property Citation, will be sufficient to trigger rehabilitation. Code enforcement officers can now issue $900 citations (like parking tickets) which will promote outcomes on a scale previously unattainable.

What are some of the incentives to help me purchase a city-owned property?

In an effort to attract buyers, several incentives have been created to target investment in city-owned properties for both the homebuyer and the developer. To learn more about homebuying incentives, please click here.

What is the contact information if I have any questions?

Our resource center is located in Room 1037 of the Benton Building, 417 E. Fayette Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. We are available from 8:30am 4:30pm with marketing and community outreach agents to assist you with your questions. You can also call us at 410.396.4111.

Where can I find a list of available properties?

You can obtain a list of current properties for sale by visiting our website page or contacting our office at 410.396.4111

I drove past a boarded up house and/or vacant lot; can/how do I buy it?

All vacant properties in Baltimore are not owned by the City of Baltimore. You can identify current ownership through the Maryland Real Property Search feature on the State Department of Assessment and Taxation website.

Can you suggest realtors who are familiar with the City's purchase process?

Baltimore City works with the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors to market and sell City-Owned properties. Many city-owned properties are listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and selected realtors have been trained to help with the sale. To find a full list of real estate agents, visit www.gbbr.org.

How do I donate my property to the City?

Interested in donating your property to the City? Click here to learn more about donating your property to the City of Baltimore.

Vacant Property Defined

Vacant property consists of both vacant buildings and vacant lots.

A vacant building is any unoccupied structure that is unsafe or unfit for human habitation or other authorized use.* although a property may be unoccupied, it is not considered vacant until it meets this criteria and a violation notice has been issued.

Vacant buildings are considered a public nuisance. you can determine that a building is vacant if:

  1. It is open to casual entry
  2. Has boarded windows or doors or
  3. Lacks intact windows, walls or roofs to repel weather entry.

A vacant lot is an individual parcel of real property that is unimproved by an assessed building.

According to the above definitions, there are approximately 16,000 vacant buildings and 14,000 vacant lots in the city of baltimore. the two counts combined total 30,000 vacant properties. more than 75% of all vacant property in baltimore city is privately owned.

* Vacant building is defined in section 115.4 of the building fire and related codes for baltimore city. a vacant lot is defined by article 13, subtitle 11 of the baltimore city code.

For more information, please call or visit our office.

Department of housing and community development - land resources division

Vacants to value resource office

417 e. fayette street, suite 1037

Baltimore, maryland 21202

Phone: 410.396.4111