Park Forest and South Suburban Land Bank Working to Address Abandoned Homes
July 16, 2023
To reduce the number of abandoned homes, this year, the Village of Park Forest added 31 houses to the South Suburban Land Bank and Development Authority (SSLBDA) inventory. The Land Bank has 33 Park Forest houses and one vacant parcel of land in its inventory. Of the approximately 30 communities associated with the SSLBDA, Park Forest has, by far, the greatest number of Land Bank houses available for purchase.
The goal is to have these abandoned and dilapidated homes restored, occupied, and returned to the village tax rolls.
Village of Park Forest Planner Andrew Brown is hopeful that, by the end of the year, over 50 properties will be back on the tax rolls through this process. “Theoretically, if these houses all had a $5,000 property tax bill, we could be talking about $250,000 in taxes on homes that were not generating any taxes previously. This could help alleviate property tax burdens on other property taxpayers in the community.”
After the village identifies a vacant and dilapidated property, it performs due diligence. The goal here is to determine its potential as a legally declared abandoned home.
The state abandonment criteria have three components:
- The property is two years in arrears in property taxes and/or water bills;
- It is unoccupied by the person legally in possession of the property;
- Or it impairs public health, safety, or welfare.
If the investigation reveals the property meets the criteria, the village works with the SSLBDA legal team to secure the deed.
A recent change in state law allows the court to issue the deed directly to the Land Bank. Before, the court issued the deed first to the village. The new process expedites the sales process. Once secured by the Land Bank, all delinquent property taxes are absolved.
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