City of Pittsburgh Side Yard Sales Program

If your home borders a vacant lot, the City of Pittsburgh’s Side Yard Sales Program may help you to buy that lot and make it your own. In doing so, you will not only increase the size and value of your property, but you will also enhance the appearance of our entire neighborhood.

Eligibility Criteria:  

  • You must own the property (no more than 2 units) that directly borders (either on the side, front or rear) the vacant lot.
  • All taxes and water and sewage bills on the properties you already own must be current.
  • You must not have any outstanding Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections violations.
  • You must be able to provide evidence of liability insurance coverage for the lot once acquired.

Further Considerations:

  • Based on its square footage and/or terrain, the lot must be deemed unsuitable for erecting a freestanding building, as determined by the City.
  • The lot must be publicly owned. If, however, it is not publicly owned but is tax delinquent, you may request that the City seize the property in a Treasurer’s Sale. If successful, the lot may then become eligible for the Side Yard Sales Program.

Acquisition Process:

  • You must complete and return the Request to Purchase Form from the Department of Finance.
  • The City will determine whether or not the lot you request is available and eligible under this program.  If the lot is not already publicly owned, you may request the City to acquire it in a Treasurer’s sale, however this may add 1-2 years to the acquisition process.
  • The City will certify that you are not responsible for any outstanding taxes, water or sewage bills.
  • You will then enter into a lease/purchase agreement with the City. The required down payment and lease costs total $201.00.
  • You may begin using and maintaining the lot immediately (although you may not make any permanent improvements yet).
  • While you are leasing the lot, the City of Pittsburgh and City Source will begin the process necessary to clear the title to the property. This usually takes up to 18 months from start to finish.
  • When the title has been cleared the City of Pittsburgh will arrange a closing date. At that time, you will need approximately $200.00 to cover closing costs, deed recording fees and transfer taxes.
  • Before you begin making any permanent improvements you must own the property and you must make sure that your plans comply with the City’s Zoning Ordinance. Call the Zoning Department at 412-255-2246 to find out what will be required.
  • If you and a neighbor are both interested in purchasing the same lot, you will be required to bid for the property. The minimum bid offer is $250.00.
  • All applications will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CALL the City of Pittsburgh Finance Department at 412-255-2300