NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Driving around New Orleans, it's pretty common to see blighted homes and overgrown, unkempt lots. The city still has about 30,000 blighted properties by one estimate.
For the first time ever, the City of New Orleans will auction off thousands of these blighted properties online.
Around 1,800 properties have gone up for auction on Friday. The city originally planned to auction off 3,000 abandoned homes and overgrown lots. However, the city pulled more than 1,000 properties from the list as the Orleans Parish Assessor's Office conducts more research.
The pulled listings will be added to the site as they are verified.
Those interested in bidding can put down $650 to initiate the pre-auction process. The city then has 90 days before bidding begins to try and track down property owners and give them one last chance to pay.
Unlike a sheriff's sale, in which the buyer would incur back taxes and have to wait five years to improve the property, officials say these properties come with a clear title right away.
Councilman Latoya Cantrell says the program works in other parishes that she believes it will work here.
"It's important to bring these properties back into commerce to improve the quality of life in neighborhoods across our city," Cantrell said.
This program doesn't come without risks. If there's a building on the property considered historical, the buyer may have a hard time making changes.
The auctions will take place in July.
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