A nonprofit that streamlines the transfer of vacant properties to you
How can I qualify to bid at an OHAAT auction?
All bidders on properties with One House at a Time must be approved in advance. In order to bid on a property at an OHAAT receivership auction, you must have submitted an application with all supporting documents at least 5 business days in advance of the auction date. Bidders must also be pre-approved to bid on website properties available for immediate sale.
Click here to download the application.
To be approved, you must:
- Demonstrate the financial ability to purchase and rehab the property. Proof of financial ability may take different forms, including bank statements with any personal information removed, a letter from a lender showing an approved line of credit, equity in property owned, or 80% of the value of an IRA or other retirement account if the applicant is a person rather than a business.
- Demonstrate the ability to manage the purchase and rehabilitation. Previous experience is usually required; experience with buying and rehabbing properties in Baltimore City is preferred.
- Provide proof of a clean record on all other properties owned regarding violations of housing codes or building codes in Baltimore City.
Once you are approved, you may bid at any upcoming OHAAT receivership auction or on properties on the website without having to reapply, unless your standing in any of the three qualifications has changed. Bidder qualification is good for 12 months, at which time updated financial information will be required.
How is an OHAAT auction different from most auctions?
In order to bid on receivership properties, you must be qualified by OHAAT at least 5 days in advance of the auction. To qualify, apply now.
You must have the required deposit with you to bid at the auction. Deposit information can be found when an auction is announced on the home page under Upcoming Auctions and will be repeated at the auction. Typically, it is a certified check for $3,000.00, and must be increased to 10% of the purchase price within 24 hours for sales above $30,000.00.
Our auctions are held approximately monthly, with 25-40 properties offered. Qualified bidders may access the properties after signing a waiver; access codes are available from our auctioneer, AJ Billig, 410-296-8440.
All properties are transferred to the winning bidder free of all liens and mortgages.
What is Receivership?
A receivership action is a code enforcement tool that allows the City to request the appointment of a vacant building receiver to abate the public nuisance created by vacant and problem properties.
All properties in receivership actions had been issued Vacant Building Notices by Baltimore City. If an owner of the property fails to comply with the notice, an attorney for Baltimore City’s housing department can request the District Court to appoint a Receiver to sell, rehabilitate or demolish the property.
If a property is sold through a public auction or private sale, the Receiver oversees the transfer to the new owner and reports the progress to the District Court for approval. The Receiver files a Report of Sale shortly after the property is sold. It takes 30 days for the court to ratify the sale to allow for any exceptions to made by parties involved in the receivership action.
After the sale is ratified, the Receiver and the purchaser will settle on the property. All outstanding municipal taxes and fees are paid to the city at this time. The Receiver will then file a Final Accounting that reflects all of the money paid at settlement and any fees or costs associated with bringing the receivership action. Should no exceptions to the Final Accounting be filed, the Court will approve the accounting and any remaining proceeds from the sale will then be distributed in order of priority, including to any mortgage companies or owners.
What does OHAAT do?
A Vacant Building Receiver is an agent appointed by the 5th District Court of Maryland to abate the nuisance created by a vacant property. By law, the receiver can abate the nuisance in three ways:
Sell the property
As an agent of the court, we are directed by the court to sell the property only to parties who will abate the nuisance.
Raze the property
Taking down the structure and creating a well-maintained green space is another way of abating the nuisance caused by a vacant property.
Rehabilitate the property
Bring the property up to code and get a Use & Occupancy permit.
To date, OHAAT has not razed or rehabbed any properties ourselves, we have sold them to qualified buyers who have done this work.
Occasionally, we also act as agents for properties that are otherwise determined by the District Court to be a nuisance, but these properties do not fall under the Receivership law.
Which properties are eligible for receivership?
Properties eligible for receivership must be vacant buildings. A vacant building is legally defined as unfit for human habitation, it is not just a building that may currently be unoccupied or unused. The owner has been issued a Vacant Building Notice by Baltimore City. The owner of the property has been informed by the District Court of what they must do to comply with the law, and the owner has either refused to comply or cannot be located by the court.
All properties are located in Baltimore City. Occupied properties and vacant lots are not eligible for Receivership.
We auction all types of vacant buildings, including apartment buildings and commercial buildings, but the majority of our properties are single family homes.