Buy Publicly Owned Property

The City of Detroit owns property across the City, including both properties used to support services (such as parks and police stations) and properties that are not serving a public purpose. With the approval of the City Council, the City sells surplus property to residents, community organizations, developers, and others for a variety of uses that provide public benefit and return the properties to productive use.

With some exceptions, commercial properties (both vacant land and buildings) are held by the City of Detroit, under the Planning and Development Department. This inventory includes properties that revert to the City through tax foreclosure, as well as properties previously used in the City that have been deemed surplus.

The Detroit Land Bank Authority owns vacant residential properties, including homes, side lots, and vacant land that may be developed. For more information about the DLBA's inventory and sales programs, visits website.


The City of Detroit sells its surplus properties in several different ways.

  • Unsolicited Offers: Interested parties may submit an application (more below) at any time for any property in the City’s ownership.
  • Marketed Properties: The Detroit Building Authority contracts with Summit Commercial to market certain properties. Active listings can be viewed here.
  • Requests for Qualifications or Proposals: For higher-profile properties, such as those included in neighborhood planning efforts, the City issues Requests for Qualifications and/or Requests for Proposals to identify qualified developers. Active opportunities can be viewed here. To be notified when future RFQs/RFPs are announced, visit the Housing and Revitalization page and click “Join Mail List.”

[Note: The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation also oversees the disposition of some publicly-owned assets, primarily sites in targeted development districts or for industrial users. More information is available here.]


In general, the process for acquiring property from the City is as follows:

Land Sale Process
Before You Begin Checklist:
  • For a successful application, have the following completed or prepared before you proceed:
  • City of Detroit taxes paid (or there is a payment plan in place)
  • Blight tickets paid (or there us an agreement in place)
  • City-owned or Detroit Land Bank Authority property/properties identified.
  • Proposal for the intended use of the property/properties is prepared and ready to submit
  • Estimate of total development costs and timeline of projects.

If you are pursuing a Land Bank Project or Special Use (i.e. lease, commercial, filming etc)


Land Based Projects Special Uses
Plot plan /site design Film permit (if applicable)
Pesticide agreement certifications (if applicable) 1-800-775-2583Special events permit (if applicable)
Development timeline City contract number (if applicable)
Budget details (i.e. sources and uses) Event dates (if applicable)


Uncompleted applications are saved in the system for 30 days.


City Council President
City Council Pro Tem