Mayor Parker and City Council Approve Resale of Dangerous Building “Strike-offs”

Apr. 23, 2014City of Houston

Mayor Annise Parker and Houston City Council Members today approved a resolution, effective immediately, authorizing the resale of tax foreclosed dangerous properties, known as “strike-offs,” held in trust by the City of Houston.   Expenses incurred to bring the properties into code compliance for resale will be recovered by the City from sale proceeds.  

“The resale of strike-offs is smart business and an effective way to fight blight and make our neighborhoods safer,” said Mayor Parker.  “It allows us to return the properties to market and get them back on the tax rolls with expedience and to recover costs incurred to bring them into compliance for resale.  This will result in significant savings—funds that can be used to accelerate the demolition of dangerous buildings that threaten public safety.  In addition, the resale of these properties to new owners presents an opportunity for the revitalization of blighted neighborhoods.”

Background – Agreement for the Sale of Seized and Tax Foreclosed Property

The approved resolution is pursuant to the Interlocal Agreement for the Sale of Seized and Tax Foreclosed Property instituted in 2000 between the City of Houston, Harris County and Houston Independent School District.  The agreement called for the establishment of an Interlocal Committee comprised of representatives of the three taxing authorities and procedures for the foreclosure and resale of properties that have accrued delinquent property taxes.  The established procedures provide for “strike-offs,” allowing the individual entities to take the properties into trust until they go back to sale.  Expenses such as for demolition or debris removal are recoverable from tax sale proceeds by the entity holding the property in trust.

Mayor’s Strike-Off Blight Program

The City’s strike-off transactions at tax foreclosure auctions and the maintenance and resale of property will be administered under the new Mayor’s Strike-off Blight Program, an initiative of the Department of Neighborhoods (DON) Inspections & Public Service division (IPS).  Costs incurred for the maintenance of strike-offs will be given priority for payment at sale, potentially netting a 40% return compared to a 1% recovery rate under traditional abatement protocol.

“The strike-off program will reduce the burden on code inspectors and, most importantly, reduce blight to improve public safety and quality of life in neighborhoods across Houston,” said DON Director Katye Tipton.

The City’s demolition initiatives are administered by DON IPS.  For more information, visitwww.houstontx.gov/neighborhoods.