Aligning the Tools: Addressing Vacant, Abandoned, and Deteriorated Properties in Tennessee

A Community Progress Technical Assistance Report

Author(s): Center for Community Progress

In April 2017, the Center for Community Progress — through our technical assistance scholarship program — worked with the Blight Authority of Memphis (BAM), along with other local and statewide coalition partners to help them enhance and cooridnate three key legal tools to address vacancy and abandonment: housing and building code enforcement, delinquent tax enforcement, and land banking.

In this report, we identify that there are three missing pieces of the puzzle in usin these tools to address vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties in Tennessee: (1) these tools do not provide insurable and marketable title in the event of transfer to a new owner; (2) these tools are not being used in a coordinated and proactive manner, and (3) there is inadequate anticipation of the appropriate transferee of the property.

Given the three final missing pieces in the excellent reforms that have been accomplished in recent years, this report presents a detailed analysis of the code enforcement system, the delinquent tax enforcement system, and the role of land banking. In the context of analyzing each tool, this report presents some basic observations and suggests a range of potential statutory and policy recommendations.

Madison Gharghoury, Development Associate and Special Assistant to the President/CEO

Published: September 2017


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