Appeals court upholds Kent Co. Land Bank program

A house that was bought by the Kent County Land Bank Authority, resold and then fixed up. (June 9, 2014)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – The Court of Appeals has sided with Kent County and Kent County Land Bank Authority over the way the county transfers some properties to the land bank.

Groups of investors and landlords sued the county over the land bank program. These investors claimed the law doesn’t allow the Kent County Treasurer to sell properties to the Land Bank Authority before others get a chance to bid at auction.

The Michigan Court of Appeals found the law does allow the Land Bank to get first crack at those properties.

The Land Banks buys houses that the county has taken over because owners stopped paying taxes. Typically, the county would auction those houses to investors. Officials with the Land Bank say that’s bad for economic growth and making neighborhoods better.

When the Land Bank buys the properties it cleans them up and controls who buys them, making sure investors fix them up

If the land bank and the county lost the suit, the investors were asking for some of the sales to be overturned.

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