Tax arrears puts properties up for auction

Good things come in three, unless it’s a culmination of three years of unpaid property taxes.

Good things come in three, unless it’s a culmination of three years of unpaid property taxes.

The City of Trail is in position to hold its annual sale of properties with taxes that have not been paid for three years, confirmed council Monday night.

Landowners have until Sept. 30 to pay up, or the 32 delinquent properties, owing a total of $92,868, will be legally put up for public auction.

According to the local government act, municipalities can hold the annual tax sale at 10 a.m. the last Monday in September, at council chambers. The collector (a designated member of city staff) must conduct the proceedings by offering for sale by public auction each parcel of real property on which taxes are delinquent.

“For the most part, these are residential and business properties where property taxes have not been paid since 2011,” explained David Perehudoff, Trail’s chief administrative officer (CAO) “But the properties are still being lived in or used in business.”

Prior to auction, the city is required to advertise the properties subject to the tax sale in at least two issues of a local newspaper.

Publishing the property address puts the owner on notice and, in Trail, that usually means taxes are paid up before the end of the month.

There are a variety of reason why taxes go unpaid, but typically by the time of the tax sale, there may only be 10 properties remaining that advance to the actual sale, said Perehudoff.

Last year, 31 properties had three years of outstanding taxes, however, by the end of September, only 10 remained in arrears and were put up to public auction.

In the event that the property is up for auction and sold, all unpaid property taxes become due and payable at time of sale. All taxes include current, arrears and delinquent plus interest and penalties, which is called the upset price or the minimum price that the city must receive at the tax sale.

But all is not lost for owners who do not buck up and their property is actually sold. Council has a policy that allows the city to bid on any properties that are advanced to the property sale.

“The city will bid up to 75 per cent of the assessed value of the property if other members of the public attend and also bid on the properties at the tax sale,” said Perehudoff.

This process allows council to extend the redemption period by one year so people can reclaim their property without losing the title.

During that time, the original owners can re-gain property titles by paying overdue payments (taxes) and interest rates.

If the property is not redeemed during the one-year period, the collector registers the new owners at the Kamloops Land Title and Survey Authority.

If a bidder fails to provide a certified cheque or cash payment in full at time to the tax sale, the collector again offers the property for sale.

Fruitvale currently has 11 properties on the list, but it changes daily, said Lila Cresswell, village CAO. “No houses went to the tax sale process last year, all were paid the Friday before, and I expect the same this year,” she added.

Montrose has no properties up for tax sale, compared to two last year.

Warfield has two or three properties, which is usual, although none advance to public auction, said Vince Morelli, village CAO. “Usually it is the same people every year,” he said