1. How many vacant properties are there in Louisville Metro?
Louisville Metro currently averages around 5,000 are reported as vacant properties (structures and lots) at any given time. This determination is made by the city’s Code Enforcement Officers, who are out in the field inspecting properties every day. These numbers constantly change for many reasons, including evictions, foreclosures, deaths, demolition, rehabilitation, new construction, sales and re-occupancies. These numbers do not include vacant properties that may exist but have not been reported or verified as vacant by Code Enforcement Officers or that are owned by Metro Government or its partnerships.
2. What does the term “vacant and abandoned” mean?
This term is applied to vacant structures or lots that fit the following criteria:
- A property maintenance violation is open on the strucutre or lot.
- The property has been determined by a Code Enforcement Officer to be “vacant” at least one (1) year.
- The property has been referred to Metro for abatement action (cleaning, mowing, boarding, demolition).
3. How many vacant properties does Louisville Metro control?
Metro controls about 500 vacant properties, which includes those owned by Louisville Metro Government, the Landbank Authority, and the Urban Renewal Commission. Most of the properties that Metro owns are vacant lots. The inventory changes as properties are sold and acquired.
4. Where can I see a list of Metro-controlled properties?
The below lists are updated monthly:
For "Structures", click here.
For "Vacant Land", click here.
5. How can I purchase a Metro-controlled property?
If you would like to purchase a Metro-controlled property, please contact the Office of Community Development at 502-574-4016. This Metro staff will work with you every step of the way and answer any questions you might have. Because it is Metro's goal to put properties back into productive use and reduce blight in our neighborhoods, we thank you in advance for showing interest in buying a vacant property.
6. Why doesn’t Metro just give away the properties it owns?
Metro wants to ensure that vacant properties go to new owners who will keep them well maintained and have a well planned end-use for the property that aligns with the city’s redevelopment priorities.
7. Who owns the rest of the vacant properties?
The majority of the known vacant properties within Louisville are owned by private individuals, partnerships, companies and corporations.
8. Why can’t Louisville Metro just take a vacant property away from an owner that is not maintaining it and give it to someone who will?
Property rights and due process established by the Fifth Right of the Kentucky Constitution and the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution prevent Metro from seizing private property without due process.
9. How can Metro get control of a property out of the hands of someone who is not maintaining it and into someone who will? How long does it take?
Under Kentucky law, Metro can initiate foreclosure action on properties that have unpaid property taxes or have accumulated recorded Metro liens, which are civil fines or abatement fees due to Metro that are unpaid after 30 days. Metro assesses these liens when it demolishes a vacant structure, cuts the grass, cleans a lot, or boards a vacant structure; or when an owner fails to comply with a property maintenance Notice of Violation. If any of these conditions are met, a person wanting to bid on a property to put it back into productive use may request Metro to initiate foreclosure on a vacant property. A foreclosure case will take a minimum of eighteen (18) months and typically takes longer due to legal requirements to identify, provide notice to, and allow for a response by those who have a claim to the property. After a property has been foreclosed on, it will be sold to the highest bidder at a court auction. For more information, please contact us at 502-574-4016, or visit our website
10. How can I find out who owns a vacant property?
11. There is a vacant lot next door to my house that I’d like to use as a side yard. How can I get control of it?
First, check to see who owns the property. If the property is owned by Metro, the Landbank Authority, or the Urban Renewal Commission, contact our office at 502-574-4016. If the property is privately owned, you will have to contact the owner or agent to try to purchase the property. If you cannot reach the owner, Metro can determine if the property is eligible for municipal foreclosure.
12. Are there any laws against occupying an abandoned building?
Occupying an abandoned or vacant building that you do not own or rent is illegal under trespassing laws.
13. How can I report a vacant property to Metro?
To report a vacant property, please contact MetroCall by calling 3-1-1, using MetroCall Live Chat, accessing the free MetroCall311 Mobile App, or submitting a report online
. When reporting a vacant property, please provide as much information as possible, such as when and why it became vacant, contact information for owners, whether someone is illegally using the structure or has openings that facilitate illegal access, the general condition of the property, and anything else that you feel will help Metro address the problems associated with the property.
14. What happens after I report a vacant property to MetroCall 311?
A Code Enforcement Officer will inspect the property and, if violations are found, he or she will issue a citation or violation notice to the owner, requesting them to correct the violations within a reasonable period of time. If upon re-inspection, the Code Enforcement Officer determines the owner has not corrected the violations, they may assess a civil fine (up to $1,500) or refer the property to be cut, cleaned, boarded or demolished. All costs incurred by Metro in performing these abatement actions become the responsibility of the owner. If these actions are not successful, the Code Enforcement Officer may refer the case to District Court for criminal prosecution, which could result in fines up to $500 and up to 50 days in jail per violation per day.
15. Will Metro accept donations of vacant properties?
The Landbank Authority accepts donations of real estate that are suitable for rehabilitation or redevelopment and in compliance with their established goals. Please note that the property must be owned free and clear with no unpaid mortgages or liens, except liens for delinquent taxes not sold to third party purchasers or liens imposed by the Department of Codes & Regulations. If the property meets these requirements, the Landbank Authority may accept the property and the donor may be entitled to a tax deduction. For more information, please contact us at 502-574-4016, or visit our website
16. When can Metro demolish a structure?
To qualify for demolition, the structure must have also been vacant and in dilapidated condition for at least one year as determined by a Code Enforcement Officer and have been mowed/cleaned/boarded by Metro. Once determined to be a demolition candidate, Metro must notify property owners and all other parties of interest as determined by a title search, requesting them to demolish the property. If owners do not comply with the Order to Demolish, Metro will test the property for asbestos and, if warranted, have the asbestos removed. Metro will then contract a licensed wrecking contractor to demolish the structure. If a property is found by the Historic Preservation Officer to contribute to the historical character of a neighborhood, the property may only be demolished if it is subsequently found to be economically infeasible for rehabilitation. Please note that demolitions are dependent on funding and that every year there may be more properties referred for demolition than there is designated funding.
17. What is the role of the Landbank?
The Louisville and Jefferson County Landbank Authority, Inc. is a partnership of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Jefferson County Public Schools, and Metro. It was established by state law to acquire, manage and sell tax-delinquent vacant properties throughout Metro Louisville. One of the key powers that the Landbank Authority holds is to clear property title of outstanding liens held by Metro, including delinquent property taxes and property code enforcement liens. The Landbank Authority acquires its properties through foreclosure actions and private donations.
18. What can Metro government do about vacant and abandoned properties?
The owners of all vacant properties within Metro Louisville are required by ordinance to maintain their property in accordance to the established minimum property maintenance standards. Code Enforcement Officers inspect properties for compliance and if violations are found, the officer will issue a notice to the owners of the property instructing them to correct all violations. If the owners fail to comply with this notice, Metro may cut and clean the properties, impose civil fines and file liens for unpaid fines, initiate foreclosure action based on municipal liens, take owners to criminal court, impose a triple property tax on properties that are designated as Abandoned Urban Properties, board and demolish vacant structures, recommend blighted or deteriorated properties for Spot Condemnation, acquire properties, including accepting donations and clearing title issues through the Landbank, support homeowners in need of rehabilitation services and emergency repairs, and rehabilitate vacant and abandoned properties for homeownership or rental in partnership with non-profit housing developers.
19. What can Metro government not do about vacant and abandoned properties?
Metro cannot take the property, fix privately held vacant properties, mow and board a property without issuing a code violation citation and providing the property owner adequate time to take corrective action, forgive delinquent tax liens sold to third party purchasers, accept donated properties with a mortgage or other liens (except liens for delinquent taxes not sold to third party purchasers or liens imposed by the Department of Codes & Regulations).
20. What can private citizens do about vacant and abandoned properties?
Citizens can report problem properties using Metro Call 311, buy and rehabilitate a vacant property, organize a community clean-up day (Brightside
or Codes and Regulations
could provide clean-up supplies), buy and redevelop a Metro-controlled property, help maintain a Metro-controlled property, recommend vacant properties to Metro for municipal foreclosure, contact owners of problem properties to ask them to better maintain those properties, ensure that you have a will or trust to pass your property to someone who will take care of it (Legal Aid Society
can assist with will preparation), or refer homeowners at risk of foreclosure to the Kentucky Homeownership Protection Center
If you want to renovate a property, there are resources that may be available!
You may be able to take advantage of the Kentucky Historic Preservation Tax Credit
, which can offset the costs of your rehabilitation work, or the Assessment Moratorium Program
, which will provide a 5-year moratorium on some of the local tax assessment increases that would result from the improvements.