Mayor's Office

Press Release

Mayor’s Strike-off Blight Program Putting Properties Back in Productive Use




July 16, 2014 -- Three short months after Houston City Council put the process in place, the resale of tax delinquent dangerous properties, known as strike-offs, is proving to be quite a productive program.  A total of 42 properties have been sold at constable’s auctions since April.  The City’s take from these sales is $183,705.24, which represents a 58 percent recovery of the sewer disconnect and demolition costs the City incurred cleaning up these blighted properties to make them more attractive for resale.  This is in sharp contrast to the typical abatement lien recovery rate of less than one percent. Without the new process in place, the City would have netted just $1,469.64 from the sale of these properties.


“In April, we stressed the new program had the potential to generate significant funds that could be used to accelerate the demolition of dangerous buildings that threaten public safety in many of our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Parker.  “We now have compelling figures that attest to how well the process is working.  A lot of the credit for this achievement goes to Leah Stoler and the crew at Linebarger Goggin Blair and Sampson LLP, which helps with our delinquent tax collections.”


The Mayor’s Strike-off program was authorized under an Interlocal Agreement for the Sale of Seized and Tax Foreclosed Property instituted in 2000 between the City of Houston, Harris County and Houston Independent School District.  The agreement called for the establishment of an Interlocal Committee comprised of representatives of the three taxing authorities and procedures for the foreclosure and resale of properties that have accrued delinquent property taxes.  The agreement allows the three individual entities the option of taking tax delinquent properties into trust until they can be sold at auction.  Expenses incurred for demolition or debris removal are recoverable from tax sale proceeds by the entity holding the property in trust.


This program allows the City to remove dangerous and blighted structures from neighborhoods, return the properties to the tax rolls and, most importantly, recover the costs incurred to make them attractive for resale.


Another seven properties are expected to be offered for re-sale in August and September after all legal requirements have been satisfied.  Properties will be available for as low as a couple of thousand dollars and sometimes even lower.  They will be posted twice for resale and if no bids are received, any existing dangerous buildings will be removed and then the properties will again be offered for resale at prices that will cover the demolition costs.