The city of Chicago announced it is expanding a program that allows residents to purchase vacant city-owned residential lots for $1.
Started in 2014, the Large Lots program is part of the city’s $1.3 billion five-year housing plan.
More than 430 lots have been sold in greater Englewood and East Garfield Park, and another 90 lots in Austin are pending City Council approval, according to a city of Chicago press release announcing the Large Lots expansion.
The program is open to residents, block clubs and nonprofit groups. Applications for 286 lots in Roseland and 20 lots in Pullman are being accepted beginning Tuesday through Oct. 31. Each applicant is allowed to buy as many as two lots.
To qualify, a buyer must
- Own property on the same block (property can be located on the same side of a resident’s street, across the street or across the alley behind a resident’s property)
- Be up-to-date on current property taxes
- Have no outstanding debt owed to the city of Chicago (parking tickets, water bills, etc.)
The property will be sold “as-is” via a quit claim deed, and the applicant will be responsible for paying property taxes going forward as well as closing costs.
Lots sold through this program are zoned residential, meaning buyers can use them to expand yards of existing homes, plant gardens, develop beautification projects and other purposes that meet residential zoning regulations. Homes and apartment buildings can be built on these lots but not stores, offices or factories, according to the Large Lots website.
Once in possession of the lot, a resident must maintain it in accordance with the city’s municipal code. This includes regulations regarding weeds (average height of weeds should not exceed 10 inches), lot maintenance (remove garbage, ashes, miscellaneous waste, manure, etc.) and fences (a fence must be maintained in good condition).
The program also requires that owners keep the property for at least five years before selling it again.