Syracuse Land Bank looking to sell seized and renovated rental properties to neighbors

Syracuse Land Bank looking to sell seized and renovated rental properties to neighbors

Complaints about absentee landlords are very common in the city of Syracuse. Many renters say some out of town landlords do not care about their properties or maintain them.

Now the Syracuse Land Bank wants to take multi-family buildings that were seized for back taxes and sell them to neighbors who are invested in the neighborhood's future.

The multi-family house at 1800 Lodi street shows signs of what it was in its prime, but it is now an eyesore after years of neglect. It sits on a busy North Side corner and has been bringing down nearby property values in the neighborhood around it.

It may look hopeless, but neighbors Lou and Anne Vinciguerra had an idea: fix it up and provide quality apartments.

A turnaround has to start somewhere.

"This is a cornerstone right here. We need to save this as we did over on Townsend street and then build around it," said Lou Vinciguerra.

Lou and Anne are partnering with the Syracuse Land Bank. During an annual report on Tuesday, the land bank said it will use funding from the New York State Attorney General's office to renovate troubled multi-family properties seized for back taxes and the land bank will then sell the buildings to neighbors. The buyer will then be the landlord and rent out the apartments.

Ben Gray from the Syracuse Land Bank said they will choose buyers carefully to make sure they are ready for the responsibility.

"We want to make sure they are good qualified buyers that are going to be owning these properties and maintaining them because we will be doing an annual inspection. If we can get someone withing visual distance, that would be the best," said Gray.

People who buy a property have to commit to maintaining affordable rental rates for the next twenty years and can not own more than two of buildings renovated by the land bank. The hope is that local landlords like Lou and Anne Vinciguerra can be the saving grace for some city neighborhoods.

"Whoever chooses to live here and be a neighbor - just to restore it and bring back that community we all kind of like and love," said Anne Vinciguerra.

The Syracuse Land Bank hopes to renovate and sell up to 24 rental properties to neighbors over the next 12 months.

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