Thursday, February 22, 2007

Tax Sale Properties in Ontario - How can you find them?

Power of Sales, Foreclosures and Bank Sales Alert for Mississauga, Oakville and Brampton

Example of the procedure of selling a tax sale property

Before there is a sale of property for tax arrears the property owner is given every opportunity to pay the taxes in full in order to keep possession of their property. This right has been supported by the Ontario Court of Appeal.

As the City or Municipality is only interested in recovering the debt outstanding, they typically adhere to the principal that the owner is given all chances to bring the taxes up to date and where an arrangement to pay has been made between the owner and the city, the tax sale of an advertised property will be cancelled.

Sometimes a tax sale does not occur, nobody bids on a property and the property becomes vested with the city or Municipality. Reasons for this can be where there are no bids during the tax sale and the property becomes vested with the city. Some of the reasons for this include but are not limited to:

  • there is an easement on the land and building on it is restricted,

  • the property is so small that building on it would not be allowed,

  • the property is land locked and not accessible,

  • the zoning of the land limits its use,

  • the property is in such disrepair that it is not worth the taxes owed, etc.

In these situations with the exception of the last example the city or municipality may try and identify any restrictions so that bidders are fully aware before they bid and commit their 20% deposit which will be forfeited should the bidder not close the sale.

Where the tax sale has no bids, the City has one year from a failed tax sale to decide whether the City wants to vest the property to itself. If there are any concerns as to contamination or the safety of a building structure then the city will analyze the available data to decide if the city should assume any risk in putting the property in the City's name.

Where it is determined that the City will not vest the property they may issue a Request for Offers and attempt to spur development by accepting much less than the taxes owed while limiting our risk of ownership to a very short period. Examples of these types of properties are where the taxes owed are much more than the assessed value. The City can also choose to do nothing with the property and then start the whole tax process again on that property.

Where a property did get sold at the tax sale the price bid for that property must be at least the taxes owing (minimum bid). Where the bid was for more than the taxes owing the balance is paid into Provincial Court and any other creditors that were registered on title can then make a claim for the excess funds.

On properties for which there is no bid and it is indicated that the property is vested to the City, usually the Real Estate Department becomes responsible for the property. They will work with Power of Sales Propertiestransferring title to any adjoining owners, transferring title to another government agency (i.e. conservation, authority), the city may potentially require the property for its own use, or the Real Estate Department may market the property and attempt to then get the best price available for the property. Often the city or municipality will market the property on the MLS. These properties are then available to the general public through agents like myself.

I can send you a list of foreclosure properties if you use my online form.

As you can see, the process can become quite complicated and may take many months or years to conclude.

For more information please contact A. Mark Argentino

A. Mark Argentino, Broker, P.Eng.,
Specializing in Residential & Investment Real Estate
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc., Brokerage
2691 Credit Valley Road, Suite 101, Mississauga, Ontario L5M 7A1

BUS. 905-828-3434
FAX. 905-828-2829

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