In post-industrial shrinking cities like Baltimore City in Maryland, privately-owned abandoned and vacant land is plentiful. Communities are seeking legal tools to gain access to this abandoned land in order to use it for community purposes. Community Law Center has developed such a tool in self help nuisance abatement, which creates a process for community members harmed by nuisance properties to turn them into community assets. However, the tool requires that neighbors take specific, often nuanced, steps and is therefore difficult to use correctly without legal guidance. A Baltimore community garden case study highlights common missteps, and the paper provides suggestions for community groups from other states who seek to borrow this tool.