The Commercial Alliance of REALTORS® (CAR) has recently reviewed the issue of the Kent County Land Bank (KCLB) and its mission, practices, and funding. CAR Government / Public Affairs Committee and a CAR Board of Directors representative had the opportunity to meet with David Allen, Director of KCLB, and learn more about the organization's formation and use as a clearinghouse for tax – foreclosed properties in Kent County. The same committee also met with a member of the group opposing the KCLB and has considered their position.
CAR believes in concept that the Land Bank model of disposition of tax – foreclosed properties can be an effective model – especially in challenging economic times when the number of such foreclosed properties is higher - if used fairly, correctly, and for a finite period of time.
CAR does have serious concerns about the current funding structure and practices of the KCLB, and believes that the sale of tax foreclosed properties to the KCLB before the public tax auction is an unfair practice, violates the concept of free and open markets, and may be a violation of the County's duties and policies with respect to the purchase and resale of tax foreclosed properties.
Preventing a free and open bidding process diminishes the opportunities otherwise available when properties are offered on the open market to any qualified buyer.
In addition, the sale of these properties to the Land Bank prior to the auction significantly reduces the County's revenue from the tax sale at a time the County was trying to eliminate a deficit within its budget.
CAR also is opposed to the KCLB's purchase of properties that are not in a blighted condition, but simply vacant. The purchase of these properties is outside of the scope of the original mission of a Land Bank.
The Commercial Alliance of REALTORS® is interested in working with County Commissioners to develop fair and equitable practices and guidelines that would align KCLB with its mission and better serve the citizens of Kent County.
Commercial Real Estate Links: