Vacant and abandoned buildings in Baltimore, MD fall under the jurisdiction of the Baltimore Housing Authority. The Baltimore Housing Authority actually consists of two different departments: The Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC), founded in 1937; and The Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), founded in 1968. Together their mission is to ensure that all citizens of Baltimore have access to adequate and affordable housing in safe, livable and decent neighborhoods.
About the Properties
The Baltimore properties found on Derelict.com are reported as vacant but may not be abandoned or city owned. This does not mean that they are not available for purchase though. Oftentimes vacant properties are owned by absentee owners who are more than eager to sell.
Note: We highly recommend finding a good real estate lawyer to help you through the acquisition process.
Step 1 - Check the Baltimore Housing Sites
Start with the following sites and cross-check the property you found on Derelict.com. If you find the property there then it makes things much easier as it means the property is city-owned. Simply follow the instructions on the site and contact Baltimore Housing. If you do not find your property on one of these sites, proceed to Step 2.
Home Center - For aspiring homeowners.
Development Opportunities - For investors and developers.
Vacants to Value - Vacant homes available for rehabbing. Check here for redevelopment incentives like $10,000 towards closing costs!
Step 2 - Identify the Property Owner
There are two places online that will help you find the owner of the property using just a street address. You should check them both.
These sites should tell you both who the owner is as well as whether or not their taxes are up-to-date.
If you are unable to find the owner on these sites, there's a good chance the property may be city-owned or in a legal grey area. If the property owner comes up as "Mayor and City Council of Baltimore" then the property is definitely city-owned. For city-owned properties, contact Baltimore Housing about purchasing them. There is no need to continue to Step 3.
Step 3 - Research Property Background
This step is very important to help you get a better understanding of the property's history and potential issues before you approach the owner to see if they are willing to sell.
Building Code Violations and Citations - Use the address to determine if the property has been cited by Housing Code Enforcement.
Maryland Judiciary Case Search - Search court cases using the property owner's name.
Existing Permit Search - Sometimes the property has already begun to be rehabbed. Check here to find out.
Step 4 - Contact the Owner
At this point you should have enough information to be able to contact the owner to see if they are willing to sell. If the contact information for the owner is old, you may need to do a little more digging to find them. Again, you might need a paid service like PublicData.com or PeopleFinders. There is also a possibility that the owner is deceased and their estate is probated. To find the will of the deceased and learn the name of the new owners you can use the following site:
Maryland Office of the Register of Wills - Read the disclaimer and agree to the terms and conditions at the bottom.
If you've determined the owner is deceased and there was no will recorded, the process for acquiring the property becomes much more involved and can take years to complete. To acquire the property you would need to have the property escheated.