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Tonight, the Trenton City Council considers the Homesteading Ordinance at second reading. Download the full text here.

Basically, there are few details about the program - properties are not identified, and the mechanisms for acquiring them are not specified. This ordinance just establishes the program and the basic framework that we already had:

  • The properties: City-owned residential properties that (a) are in Redevelopment Areas, AND/OR (b) that the City has acquired through in rem foreclosure (foreclosure on tax liens)

  • Eligible buyers: The buyers must either be (a) first-time homebuyers or (b) non-residents seeking to relocate to or live in the City. The buyers are required to rehab the properties "using the 203(k) Loan Program or other viable loan financing, and occupy such properties as their principal residence for a period of not less than ten (10) years."

We at Restoring Trenton are somewhat nervous at the length of this residency requirement. Most land banks have at most a 5-7 year residency requirement, as anything beyond that tends to encourage cheating. We'll share our research soon. We're additionally concerned that the language of the ordinance appears to require a loan of some sort. We look forward to sharing more details as they are released.

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