chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.
July 01, 2019

New ABA book navigates legal issues associated with vacant and problem properties

CHICAGO, July 1, 2019 — Just published by the ABA, “Vacant and Problem Properties: A Guide to Legal Strategies and Remedies” provides an in-depth overview of the policy issues associated with vacant and problem properties, how to take action to revitalize them and how to frame effective and defensible local ordinances and regulations. It addresses the widespread problem of these properties and outlines the complex legal landscape surrounding them.   

In the foreword, Dwight Merriam, attorney at law in Simsbury, Conn., and past chair of the ABA Section of State and Local Government Law explains that the book melds solid, factual content and scholarship with practical advice that can be put to work at once to solve real world problems. “This guide is written for practicing attorneys, including those working for local governments; those representing property owners, community-based organizations and developers; and those involved in property transactions or redevelopment.

“Vacant and Problem Properties” covers a variety of subjects, including the benefits and challenges of creating land banks, the regulatory issues involved with dealing with brownfield properties, the importance of developing sound demolition strategies and the value of greening or nondevelopment reuse strategies.

Readers will find that the book provides a useful roadmap for navigating the intricate terrain of problem properties.

The book is co-authored by Alan Mallach, Jessica A. Bacher and Meg Byerly Williams.

Mallach is a senior fellow with the Center for Community Progress in Washington, D.C., where his work focuses on urban revival, social equity and neighborhood change. He teaches in the Graduate City Planning program at Pratt Institute in New York, has served as the director of housing and economic development for the city of Trenton, N.J., and is the author of many law journal articles and other scholarly and general audience publications. His most recent book, “The Divided City: Poverty and Prosperity in Urban America,” was published in June 2018.

Bacher is executive director of the Land Use Law Center, which is dedicated to fostering the development of sustainable communities and regions through the promotion of innovative land use strategies and dispute resolution techniques. She is a clinic lecturer at Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, where she manages the school’s Land Use Clinic. Bacher was selected by the ABA to receive the Jefferson B. Fordham Award, which is presented to a young practitioner who has shown great promise through his or her contributions to the field. She received her J.D., summa cum laude, from Pace Law School in 2003, along with a certificate in environmental law.

Williams is an associate at Skeo Solutions, Inc. in Charlottesville, Va., where she works as a sustainable development consultant on projects promoting distressed property remediation, renewable energy and neighborhood development, among other sustainable development initiatives. Williams also manages Skeo’s state and local government contracts and assists with the company’s compliance program. She holds a J.D. from Pace Law School, an M.E.M. from Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and an M.S. in wildlife and fisheries sciences from Texas A&M University.

Title:                Vacant and Problem Properties: A Guide to Legal Strategies and Remedies
Publisher:        ABA Publishing
Pages:             394
Produce Code: 5330247
ISBN:               9781641054096
Size:                6 x 9, Paperback
Price:               $129.95
Orders:            800-285-2221 or 

Editor’s note:
Author interviews and review copies of this book are available by emailing Francine Bennett at [email protected]. If you publish a review of this book, please send tear sheets or a copy for our files to Francine Bennett, ABA Book Publishing, 1050 Connecticut Ave N.W., Suite 400, Washington, D.C. 20036.

With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.