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Sale of Land for Tax Arrears
Legislation regarding the tax sale process is found in the Municipal Act (part XI), 2001 including Ontario Regulation 181/03.
If property taxes remain unpaid for a specific period of time, the Municipal Act provides for the sale of the property. The Township registers a Tax Arrears Certificate if taxes remain unpaid on vacant or improved land for three years prior to January 1 of any year. These time lines apply to both residential and non-residential classes of property.
A Tax Arrears Certificate indicates that the property will be sold if taxes, penalties, interest and reasonable costs incurred by the Township are not paid within one year of registration of the certificate. Once a certificate has been registered, partial payments cannot be accepted, but a Council approved repayment schedule may be arranged with the owner prior to the expiry of the one-year period.
Tax Sales are not typical real estate transactions. If you are considering participating in a tax sale, it is highly recommended that you seek independent legal advice from a lawyer licensed to practice in Ontario and in good standing with the Law Society of Upper Canada.
Frequently Asked Questions-Tax Sales:
1. How do I find out what Township properties are currently advertised for tax sale?
All tax sale properties will be advertised for four weeks in the local paper and for one week in the Ontario Gazette in addition to the Township website and http://www.ontariotaxsales.ca/.
2. Can I visit a property that is listed for tax sale?
No - you cannot legally enter onto a property that is advertised for tax sale. This is not a typical property sale - The Township does not "own" the property in a tax sale and the current property owner on title may still be occupying the property. Entering onto a property advertised for tax sale proceedings is considered to be trespassing.
3. How do I obtain a tender package?
Tender packages are available for a nominal fee $10 from the Township office in Hickson as well as Ontario Tax Sales website: http://www.ontariotaxsales.ca/.
4. How do I complete the tender package?
Instructions on how to complete the tender package are included with the package. These instructions must be followed explicitly in order for the tender bid to be valid. Form 7 must be completed in which the bidder submits their bid amount. Your tender must be submitted in a sealed envelope, addressed to the Treasurer. In each tender package, there is a pre-addressed envelope. Please use this provided envelope to submit any bids.
5. When does a tender have to be submitted by?
The date of closing for each public tender will be listed on the sale of land by public tender form which is included in the public tender package as well as in any advertising of the property for sale by the Township. Please refer to this notice for the deadline of submission specific to each property.
6. Is there a deposit that must be made at the time of submitting a tender?
Yes, a deposit must accompany any tender submission. The deposit must be at least 20 per cent of the tender bid amount.
7. What are the acceptable forms to make the required deposit in?
Deposits must be in the form of a money order, bank draft or cheque certified by a bank or trust corporation. The deposit must be made payable to the "Township of East Zorra-Tavistock". Please do not submit cash.
8. May I submit tenders on more than one land parcel or property?
Please submit separate bids in separate bid envelopes for each property you wish to place a bid on. Please do not combine bids in one form or envelope. Any combined bids in one envelope will be rejected.
9. What is the Minimum price that the municipality will sell a tax sale property for?
The minimum price is the tender amount shown on the Sale of Land by Public Tender form. This amount represents the property taxes outstanding on the property and any costs associated with the tax sale process. Any submissions of tender less than this price will not be accepted.
10. If my bid is successful, when is the rest of the purchase price required to be paid?
After reviewing the tenders, the Treasurer will reject all but the two highest of the remaining tenders. The Treasurer will then notify the highest tenderer by certified mail sent to the address shown in the tender. The highest tenderer then has 14 calendar days to pay the balance of the amount tendered, the applicable land transfer tax and the accumulated property taxes by money order, bank draft or certified cheque to the Treasurer. If the payment of the balance is not paid, the initial deposit will be forfeited to the municipality and the second highest tenderer will be offered the land.
11. What if I submitted a tender but would like to withdraw it?
A tender may be withdrawn if the tenderer's written request to have the tender withdrawn is received by the Treasurer before 3:00:00 p.m. local time on the last date for receiving tenders. The envelope containing a withdrawn tender will be opened at the time of the opening of the sealed envelopes.
12. Does the municipality make any representations in a tax sale?
No. The municipality makes no representation regarding the title to a property or any other matters relating to the lands to be sold. The property may be worth much more or much less than the minimum tender amount. It is the tenderer's responsibility to do their own research before submitting a tender on a tax sale property.
13. Why was my tender rejected?
Some of the reasons a tender could be rejected include:
- The tender amount was insufficient in that it was not equal to or greater than the minimum tender amount.
- The tender included a term or condition that is not allowed for under the Ontario Tax Sales Regulations (Ontario Regulation 181/03).
- The tender envelope was not sealed, did not indicate on it that it is a tax sale or it did not provide a short description or municipal address sufficient to permit the Treasurer to identify the parcel of land to which the tender relates.
- The tender was not one of the two highest tenders.
- The tender was not in Form 7.
- The tender was not addressed to the treasurer or typewritten or legibly handwritten in ink.
- The tender was not accompanied by a deposit of at least 20 per cent of the tender amount as shown on the Form 7 tender.
- The tender deposit was not made by way of money order, bank draft or certified cheque.
- The tender did not relate to just one parcel of land.