How To Buy Land

Buying publicly owned land in Philadelphia has never been easier. The process is straightforward, there is only one city agency to deal with, and this website will walk you through it. As long as you don’t owe the City back taxes or other charges, you should be eligible to make an offer on our properties.

First you’ll need to register in our system. This will help us keep you informed as to the status of your inquiry.

Next, search our inventory to find the property you want. Our map-based system will tell you the price, size and zoning of each property. (If you are looking for a specific property and you don’t find it in our inventory, that probably means that the Land Bank and its partner agencies either don’t own it or it’s not for sale. To research who might own it, please use the City of Philadelphia’s property search tool.)

Once you find the property you want, click to submit what’s called an Expression of Interest (EOI). You’ll complete the EOI online, and that will tell us what you want to do with the property so that we can see what additional information we might need from you.

One form we’ll be asking for is a Tax Certification. This gives us permission to check to see that you’re up-to-date on your City taxes. You can get the process going by completing the Tax Certification online.

We’ll also check with other City agencies to see if your plans for the property are consistent with what the City has in mind. For that reason it’s always a good idea to see if your plans are consistent with the zoning for the property and the Planning Commission’s 2035 Plan.

Keep in mind that if your plans include building on the property, there are steps you’ll need to take after purchasing the property. Among the issues that may come up are zoning, stormwater management and permits.

If you are not familiar with the development process in Philadelphia, you might want to consult with someone who is.

If you’re a DEVELOPER interested in three or more properties, visit our Multiple Properties section. We might be able to combine multiple properties into one EOI, which would streamline the process for you and for us.
If you’re a HOMEOWNER interested in obtaining a YARD, visit our Yard section for more information, including whether the property you are interested in might be available for a reduced price.

If you want to lease property for an individual garden, a community garden or a market farm, you will go through the same process outlined above to register, find a property and submit an EOI. Depending on the circumstances, you may be granted a lease or a license.

Individual garden leases and licenses are available on a year-to-year basis; community garden leases and licenses are available for up to five years; and market farm leases and licenses are determined on a case-by-case basis. All leases and licenses may be renewed.

Our disposition policy offers a complete overview of the City’s policies regarding the sale and lease of publicly owned land.

As the process moves forward, we might need additional information from you, such as building plans. If we do, we’ll be in touch!

Other questions about the Land Bank? Visit Frequently Asked Questions.