Who’s the owner?

So there’s a vacant lot in your neighborhood. It’s filling up with trash, high weeds, and vermin, and you want to create a beautiful community space there instead. What do you do?

Your first step should be to contact the owner of the property: here’s how to figure out the owner’s contact information.

If the property is in the state of Maryland, you should turn to the website of the State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT): http://dat.state.md.us/

Click on Real Property Data Search and then enter the property’s county and street address.

The property owner’s name and mailing address should be publicly available in SDAT’s database.

If the property is owned by the City of Baltimore or one of its agencies, you should check on the Power in Dirt website to see if it’s available for adoption through the Adopt-A-Lot program. If the property is privately owned, you can then contact the owner of the lot either to ask for permission to clean it up or you can follow the self-help nuisance abatement procedure outlined in a previous post.

If your lot is in Baltimore City, you can use the Cityview website, which is more user-friendly than SDAT and allows you to search for properties using a map. This is helpful to find information on lots that do not have street addresses.

Good luck! If you have trouble finding information regarding a particular piece of property in Maryland, feel free to contact Community Law Center for assistance.

Posted on by Becky Witt

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