Vacant Property Holiday Giveaway and Sale

Vacant Property Holiday Giveaway and Sale 2021-12-20T11:37:41+00:00



Due to the overwhelming response, the Vacant Property Holiday Giveaway & Sale has now ended.  Please check back to the space for announcement of the giveaway winners and future sales.  If you have submitted an application, thank you very much for your submission and you will receive a response within the next five (5) business days.



The Cook County Land Bank Authority (CCLBA) will offer, for below-market sale, long-vacant properties throughout suburban Cook County and the City of Chicago, focusing on community redevelopment. Community gardens and open space are encouraged! Priority will be given to:

  1. Neighbors who live on the same block
  2. Community organizations or non-profits in the community area. 
  3. Local developers

From December 15, 2021, individuals and community organizations can apply to have CCLBA take these properties to deed on their behalf. CCLBA will streamline the 6-12 month process, addressing complicated legal filings and costs that often discourage community members from attempting acquisition and putting vacant properties back to productive use.

Properties are located throughout Cook County, but the majority of properties are located within the following community areas:

  • Calumet City
  • Hazel Crest
  • Markham
  • Riverdale

  • Englewood
  • North Lawndale
  • Roseland
  • West Pullman


To kick off the program, CCLBA will give away 10 vacant properties to the first 10 successful applicants that are community organizations and or neighbors of the parcels. This program will strengthen our communities by transforming vacancy into equity, improving Cook County residents’ quality of life and the economic vibrancy of their neighborhoods. The quit-claim deeds to the properties will be conveyed conditioned upon improvement of the property by the applicant in the first year of ownership. This improvement could be as simple as fencing and cleaning the lot.

This opportunity will:

  • Give community organizations, local residents and community developers access to and control over vacant land in their communities
  • Return this vacant land back to productive use and the tax rolls
  • Build community wealth and equity
  • Remove blight, increase safety and generate positive investment in historically divested neighborhoods

We’ve witnessed firsthand the impact when we empower community members and local developers to reclaim and resurrect abandoned parcels that depress home values and drain community wealth in Cook County’s Black and Brown neighborhoods. This sale is one step in the right direction toward putting these properties into the hands of residents and community organizations.  Court and administration reservations for taking these properties to deed are limited. Properties will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

The total cost of taking these properties to deed is $4,155. Included in this price is the $215 application fee and the $60 water certification that is required for each property. These fees will be waived for one property each for the first 10 community groups or neighbors of these vacant structures.

Q: ⇒Who do I contact if there are any questions regarding this program?

The quickest response is to email the CCLBA at  Our offices are temporarily closed due to the rise of COVID cases in the office, and the above email is currently the best and fastest way to get in contact with the Land Bank.

Q: ⇒How will the CCLBA communicate with applicants?

Email is the primary form of communication used by the CCLBA. Applicants must provide an email address in order to apply. Information regarding application status will be sent to applicants via the email address they provided. You will receive a confirmation email once your application has been submitted.

Q: ⇒ Will I have to pay back taxes on these properties?

Since the CCLBA is the government entity taking these properties to deed, the buyer will not have to pay the back taxes on the property. Buyers will only need to pay the $215 application fee, submit a deposit for $800 that will cover the court and administration processing fees and pay the remaining $3,140. The first 10 community groups and neighbors of the property will have these costs waived for one property each.

Q: ⇒ Can I apply for more than one property? 

Yes, any individual or organization can apply for more than one property.  Each property requires a separate application fee due to the chain of title check and processing fees associated with each individual application.

Q: ⇒ What if the property that I’m applying for is occupied?

The information provided for the property you are applying for is intended to be accurate and complete, however the CCLBA cannot 100% guarantee the accuracy of the condition and status of the property in question.  Consequently, the CCLBA will not be awarding or pursuing this property if the subject property is deemed to be occupied. 

Q: ⇒ What if the property that I’m applying for is in really bad shape? Can I ask for credits?

No, the property you are being awarded will be sold, “AS IS” in its present condition.

Q: ⇒ What can I do with the property after it is purchased?

You must maintain the property in accordance with the municipal codes and zoning laws of the jurisdiction that the property resides.  Most of these properties have a residential land use, however the zoning can differ depending on the municipal jurisdiction.

Q: ⇒ How are decisions made to award a property?

Properties are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.  In the event that there are multiple deposits for one application, the CCLBA will award the property in the following hierarchy:
  1. Neighbors who live on the same block
  2. Community organizations or non-profits in the community area. 
  3. Community/Local developers
The application fee will be refunded to the applicant who is not awarded the property.

Q: ⇒ What constitutes a, “Community Organization?”

For these purposes, a community organization/not-for-profit entity can be defined as an organization that has a valid 501(c)(3) Determination Letter on file with the IRS.  If you are filing an application as a community organization or not-for-profit, you will be required to submit these documents to the CCLBA with your application.

Q: ⇒ What constitutes a, “neighbor who lives on the same block?”

A neighbor on the block constitutes a property owner that lives within certain proximity to the subject property, which includes:
  • On their side of the street
  • Across the street
  • Across the alley behind their property
If you are filing an application as a neighbor who lives on the same block, you will be required to submit the recorded deed to the property you own to the CCLBA with your application.

Q: ⇒ If I’m a neighbor who lives on the same block as the property I’m applying for, I’m required to submit a recorded deed with my name or organization to the CCLBA upon completion of the application.  How do I find my deed?

The Cook County Clerk has subsumed the former Cook County Recorder of Deeds, and you can locate the deed for your PIN by clicking on the link here.

Q: ⇒ What constitutes a, “community/local developer?”

A community/local developer constitutes a developer that has the ability to successfully rehab the applied for property.
If you are filing an application as a community/local developer, you will be required to submit the following documents with your application:
  • Certificate of Good Standing from the State of Illinois; or
  • Screen-shot showing the business has an, “Active” status.  This can be found by clicking on the link here.

Q: ⇒ If for some reason the Land Bank cannot acquire the deed to the property, will I receive a refund? 

CCLBA’s obligation to close on the Property is contingent upon CCLBA’s acquisition of the Property.  If, at any time, CCLBA notifies Purchaser that CCLBA will not be acquiring the Property, the sale shall be null and void. The Land Bank will refund the buyer the $750 deposit.


Cook County Land BankHOW TO APPLY


To apply to purchase one of these properties, please follow the instructions below:

1.  Explore available properties by doing the following:

  • To view all properties on a map, please navigate to the Land Bank’s INTERACTIVE PROPERTY VIEWER to view all properties (shown in BLUE).  To sort properties by ward, neighborhood, or municipality, please click on the, Filterslink located at the top of the map.  You have the ability to download an excel spreadsheet as well).

2.  Fill out the application by clicking on the green button below and navigating to an individual property.  Once an individual property is identified, click on the property and find the, “Apply for a Property” button located at the upper-right of the webpage. 



3. Upon submitting and completing the application, a CCLBA representative will reach out to you within 1-2 business days. This representative will send a link for you to pay the $215 application fee, and the representative will un-publish the property that you’ve applied for. If you or your organization does not pay the application fee within 24 hours from the time that the email was sent, the property will be re-published and your application will be considered incomplete.

4.  Upon payment confirmation, CCLBA will then vet your application through an independent processor, and then notify the applicant if they can proceed with the sale.  This can take up to three (3) weeks, and a CCLBA representative will reach out to you once that process is complete.  Once that is complete, CCLBA will send a link to collect payment for the $800 deposit, which will be applied to the final purchase price.

5. Once the applicant is vetted and the deposit is paid, CCLBA will proceed with taking the property to deed.  This process can take up to twelve (12) months.  Final payment will be requested after the deed is processed.

If you have any questions, please contact the Cook County Land Bank at  Applications are accepted beginning December 15, 2021.  For more information, refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) above.



The following include some quotes from our community partners and organizations, of which we would not be nearly as successful as we have been due to their amazing work and commitment to neighborhood revitalization.

“We are so thankful to have found such incredible partners at the Cook County Land Bank. By The Hand is a faith-based, after-school program that takes kids by the hand and walks with them from kindergarten through college, loving and nurturing them—mind, body and soul. We are located across 5 Chicago neighborhoods and our headquarters is in the Austin neighborhood. Through working with the Land Bank we have been able to identify unsafe, vacant and abandoned properties in Austin surrounding our after-school clubs. 

We have worked together to set aside 10 lots surrounding our sites that will be developed into housing for our children and families. We are also excited to be expanding our services by bringing a high quality Early Childhood provider on our site and developing a Youth Leadership Center. Because of the support of the Land Bank we will have full site control to bring these exciting new programs to our students. The Cook County Land Bank has gone above and beyond to help us better serve our children and families and we are incredibly grateful.”

  • Andraya Yousfi, Managing Director of Partnerships and Development, By The Hand


“At CNI we have always looked at vacant land as an asset – a place just waiting  for the ideas and tenacity to turn what some see as blight into the new homes, production facilities, stores and restaurants that every community needs.  The Land Bank has revolutionized this process – bringing needed transparency and efficiency and establishing a pipeline of potential sites. Whether in Pullman where through the landbank we’ve been able to rescue and rehab scores of century old homes or on the West. Side,  where we’ve acquired vacant lots for new construction  – the Land Bank has been a crucial and reliable ally.”

  • David Doig, President, Community Neighborhood Initiatives



“For NeighborScapes, the Land Bank has been essential as a partner in achieving our mission to strengthen neighborhoods. We focus on Englewood in Chicago’s South Side, where the ability to acquire properties from the Land Bank enables us to rehab properties and bring them back into use where otherwise they might remain zombies forever because the amounts of the tax liens make it impractical for anyone to buy them and place them back in service.

Acquiring properties by tax certificate enables NeighborScapes to rehab houses that might otherwise stay vacant forever or fall apart until they require demolition. In a neighborhood like Englewood where we focus, that is the only way forward to remediate vacancy and blight.”

  • Jay Readey, President, NeighborScapes