Side Lot Program


As part of its mission to improve the quality of our community and increase land values, the City of Middletown will dispose of properties in an effort to create diverse housing opportunities and return properties to the tax rolls. The City of Middletown has developed two disposition strategies to sell property: (1) the Residential Side Lot Program and (2) Ordinance No. O2002-87. 

The Development Services Director will evaluate a property’s size, marketability, utility access, and other factors to determine for which program the property is best-suited. Vacant lots that are determined to be suitable for standalone in-fill development will not be offered in the Residential Side Lot program. 

Some unimproved property that the City of Middletown owns is eligible to be purchased through the Residential Side Lot Program, under the conditions listed below. Properties eligible for this program are determined by the Development Services Director. The inclusion of a parcel of property in the Residential Side Lot Program does not obligate the City to transfer the property subject to this program. The Development Services Director, City Manager, and/or City Council may, at any time, determine that a lot eligible for the residential side lot program will be removed from that program if it would be in the best interests of the City and its residents. 

1. Qualified Properties – parcels of property eligible for inclusion in the Residential Side Lot Program shall generally meet the following minimum criteria: 

  1. The property shall be owned by the City of Middletown, either as an unimproved lot or with the intention of demolishing any structure(s) currently existing on the parcel. 
  2. The property shall be determined to be unsuitable for residential in-fill development by the Development Services Director (whether due to the lot width, lot depth, lot area, an inability to meet the required minimum setbacks, or other factor(s) considered by the Development Services Director). 
  3. The property shall be physically contiguous to adjacent property, with not less than a fifty percent common boundary line on at least one side. 

2. Qualified Uses – the end-use of any property included in the Residential Side Lot Program shall meet the following criteria: 

  1. The intended recipient must disclose the intended use of the lot. 
  2. The proposed use must be residential in character and must comply with any applicable zoning and must be included as a permitted or accessory use as specified by the Middletown Development Code. 

3. Qualified Adjacent Owners (Transferees) – adjacent property owners (transferees) who are interested in obtaining property through the Residential Side Lot Program shall meet the following minimum criteria: 

  1. Transferee (or an immediate family member) must own and occupy the adjacent property with not less than a fifty percent common boundary line, or transferee must be a 501(C)(3) organization willing to improve and maintain the property as a community garden or beautification project for a minimum of one year. A non-profit transferee under this policy must be formally recognized as tax exempt and have an established track record of at least 3-years’ demonstrated success and experience in furthering its mission. 
  2. Transferee, or a family member of the transferee, may not have owned or resided on or at the qualified side lot property during the pendency of any foreclosure proceedings that led to the City of Middletown acquiring the property. 
  3. The transferee must not own, or jointly own, any real property within City limits that: i. Is delinquent on any taxes or assessments; ii. Has an un-remediated citation or violation of Ohio statute or local ordinance or resolution, including but not limited to zoning, building, property maintenance codes or the Health Department.
  4. Transferee shall be current on water utility bills on all properties currently owned by transferee and shall not have any outstanding civil penalties or fees owed to the City of Middletown. 

4. Pricing – Title examination and insurance fees, if desired, are the responsibility of the transferee and are not included in the sale price. 

  1. Properties sold to an adjacent owner as a qualified property within the side lot program shall be priced at the higher of $500.00 or the cost incurred by the City, but not reimbursed, to maintain the property for the prior 2-year period, plus the cost of all recording fees, closing costs, etc. 
  2. Qualified properties sold as a community garden or beautification project shall be priced at $100.00, plus the cost of all recording fees, closing costs, etc. 

5. Transfer Procedure 

  1. The City of Middletown will continuously accept applications from qualified transferees to acquire qualified properties, and will reach out to the applicants upon verification of side lot program eligibility. 
  2. The City of Middletown will attempt to facilitate a transfer of the parcel to a single qualified transferee whenever possible. 
  3. In the event that multiple qualified transferees desire to acquire the same side lot, priority will be given as follows:
    1. To a qualified transferee who occupies the adjoining property as their primary residence. 
    2. If both adjoining properties are owner-occupied, then priority will be given in the following order: 
      1. To the property owner who has documentation that they have maintained the qualified side lot program property; 
      2. To the first qualified transferee who submitted a complete application; or 
      3. To the qualified transferee having the greater contiguous border. 
    3. If not resolved by the criteria indicated above, the property may be divided and transferred among the interested qualified transferees. To facilitate 3 such a transaction, the qualified transferees will be required to pay the costs of a required survey of the land in order to split the parcel, in addition to the standard consideration. 
  4. Having identified a qualified transferee who has certified to the above eligibility criteria, the City of Middletown will coordinate with the Butler County Treasurer’s and Auditor’s offices to determine any current tax delinquencies or past tax foreclosures and the City of Middletown’s Finance Department to determine any City tax or water billing account delinquencies. 
  5. The City of Middletown will verify that there are no outstanding Health Department, Building Inspections, or Code Enforcement violations. 
  6. The Law Department will prepare a purchase agreement for the property that must be approved by City Council. 
  7. The City of Middletown will prepare the deed for the property which will contain restrictions, including but not limited to, a restriction that the parcel may not be resold without written approval from the City for a period of five (5) years from the closing date unless sold in conjunction with the transferee’s existing lot, and will otherwise facilitate closing and recording of the deed upon receipt of the purchase price from the transferee. 
  8. Maintenance of the property after transfer will be the sole responsibility of the transferee. 


  • All property sales must be authorized by and are subject to approval by Middletown City Council. 
  • The City reserves the right to condition the sale on the buyer’s acceptance of any deed restrictions currently in place.
  • The City reserves the right to require that adjacent lots be combined into one lot within the Deed conveying the property. 
  • The City reserves the right to accept or reject any and all offers for purchase. 
  • All personal information submitted to the City of Middletown is subject to Ohio Public Records Law. 
  • Should property transfers exceed $1,000.00, the City will only accept a bank check or other type of payment with guaranteed funds such as a cashier’s check, certified check, money order, or title company escrow account check. 
  • Application form will be provided after eligibility verification. 

Questions regarding program:

Tina Blevins | Development Services Administrative Assistant or 513-425-7950