Press Release: Cuyahoga Land Bank Renovates 700th Property; Demolishes 2,000th Property

This  week, the Cuyahoga  Land Bank hit two milestones as it continues to fulfill its
mission to strategically acquire properties, return them to productive use, reduce blight,
increase property values, support community goals and improve the quality of life for
county residents.
As of this month, 700 distressed homes  acquired by the Cuyahoga Land Bank  from tax
foreclosure, HUD and Fannie Mae  have been renovated  by  private owners, using
private dollars. These owners purchased the homes on strict conditions that  the homes
would be  renovated in compliance with the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s  Housing Quality
Standards and Specifications, housing codes and applicable point of sale requirements.
Nearly 40% of these sales are to owner-occupants. The  Cuyahoga Land Bank offers
homes to these buyers through its  Deed-in-Escrow Program, the  Owner Occupant
Buyer Advantage Program  (OOBA)  and the Advantage Plus Loan Program  (Advantage
Plus) and also renovates and sells move-in ready properties on its own.
The Deed-in-Escrow Program is open  both  to owners and investors  who  purchase
homes from the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s posted listings  for an agreed-upon price.
Buyers must  renovate the home within a  reasonable  time period  (usually 90 to 120
days). To enforce the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s renovation standards, the Cuyahoga Land
Bank retains title to  homes  in this program until a final, satisfactory inspection of the
completed renovation.
The  OOBA  Program was established to encourage  owner-occupants  to  purchase and
renovate a home. The program grants preference to owner-occupants  seeking  to
renovate  homes  in the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s  inventory. The Cuyahoga Land Bank
selects homes needing little to moderate repair  and posts them for sale  for a period of
30 days during which only owner-occupants can make offers.
Advantage Plus takes the  OOBA  Program one step further by offering renovation
assistance to owner occupants interested in renovating a property in the City of Euclid.
A pilot program established in partnership with the City of Euclid and Neighborhood
Housing Services of Greater Cleveland (NHSGC), Advantage Plus offers seven low-interest, short term loans of up to $10,000,  per quarter on OOBA  homes in the City of Euclid.
“In a little over a  year, we have launched two new renovation programs  –  OOBA and
Advantage Plus  –  in an effort to make the dream of home ownership more   attainable,”
said Cuyahoga Land Bank  Programs  Director Dennis Roberts. “We will continue to
develop innovative programs and strategies that return properties to productive use
while also quickly removing blighted properties in Cuyahoga County.”
Many of the properties  acquired  by the Cuyahoga Land Bank are  very blighted and
beyond repair.  They create blight on the community,  constitute a haven for criminal
activity and  pose  safety hazards. In these instances, and after careful review of all the
systems in the house, the house is scheduled for demolition.
Once a property has been slated for demolition, the Cuyahoga Land  Bank removes that
blighted  property  in order to speed the recovery and reimagining of the  surrounding
“Blighted properties can be a very serious safety problem in neighborhoods. This is
why we take our job seriously, and make sure our work is performed professionally,”
said Cheryl Stephens, Director of Acquisition, Disposition and Development for the
Cuyahoga Land Bank.  The Cuyahoga Land  Bank recently  successfully completed its
2,000th demolition since starting operations in 2009.

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