Lot Next Door Program Kicks into Gear

On Friday, July 11, MCNO Housing attended a briefing regarding the Lot Next Door (LND) program. At this time, we only have the information in hard copy format, but as soon as we get a digital version we will post it on the MCNO Web site.
In the meantime, here is the synopsis:
NORA has identified over 2000 homeowners, citywide, who are eligible to purchase Road Home Buyout (RHB) or previously blighted, expropriated properties through the LND program. Only those residents on either side of a property will be eligible you will NOT be notified or be eligible to acquire RHB properties behind you.
Letters will be going out to those homeowners this summer. If you receive a letter and are interested, please contact NORA as soon as possible and copy housing@mcno.org with your email so we can update our database. There is also a Letter of Interest you must send to NORA via email or regular mail within 30 days of receipt of the letter. We will post that document on MCNO.org as soon as we have the digital file. We will also have copies available at the next neighborhood meeting on August 5.
You MUST have a current homestead exemption to be eligible, so if you have lost yours since Katrina but are now eligible and have not refiled, you should do so immediately. Also, notify NORA of that fact when you send them your letter of interest. If you have purchased another property and are taking the exemption there, you will not be eligible for the LND program. You also must be up to date with any taxes and code enforcement fines/liens for all properties you own anywhere in Orleans Parish to be eligible. If you are behind and pay these taxes or fines this summer, keep your receipts to show NORA as the records may not be updated right away.
If you purchase a property, you must file with the city to alter the dimensions of your property (and pay associated fees) and hold the property for a minimum of five years before you can resell it. If there is a home on the property, you will need to renovate it or be prepared to face code enforcement fines from the city. If you take possession of one of these properties, you may be eligible for greening and fencing credits to offset the cost of beautification and site improvements.
If you wish to tear the property down, it will have to go through the normal demolition review process unless you can prove that it is in imminent danger of collapse. If you renovate it, you can make it a rental. However, be aware that if it was originally zoned as a double or single and was converted into a multiplex before Katrina, it will now have lost its non-conforming use and NOT be eligible to be renovated as a multi-unit property. (This is true for all abandoned properties. Please inform MCNO Housing and the City of New Orleans Safety and Permits Department of suspected non-conforming renovations ASAP.)
These properties will be sold at fair market value (FMV), and the new owner will be required to pay $1000 in closing costs. Upon receipt of your letter of interest by NORA, the agency will order an appraisal and send it to you. At that point, to reserve the property you must pay a 20% deposit within 60 days. (You can also release your interest if the appraisal is higher than you want to pay for the property.) As soon as NORA acquires ownership of the property, you will pay the FMV of the property, less any credits you receive.
If you are interested in acquiring a property you believe is blighted and you do not receive a letter, please send the information and address to housing@mcno.org. We are currently amassing a list of properties that we want NORA to expropriate. Provided the property meets the city’s blight criteria, we will include your request in our list. Also, if you know ANYONE who is interested in acquiring an abandoned or blighted property, please encourage them to email housing@mcno.org. NORA has a very limited budget and will be more willing to acquire a property for resale to a resident if it has confidence that it will be able to recoup its outlay quickly. WE NEED RESIDENTS TO GET THE WORD OUT ABOUT THE ABILITY TO PURCHASE BLIGHTED PROPERTIES SO WE CAN GET THESE HOMES BACK INTO COMMERCE!!!!!
If you have further questions specific to the Lot Next Door program, please direct them to lotnextdoor@noraworks.org. This is all the information MCNO Housing has at this time. If you have any other questions related to MCNO’s housing recovery programs, or want to notify us of problem properties in your area, please feel free to contact us.

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