A friend of mine brought this to my attention, and its a great question that alot of people don't know the answer too. If you don't pay your yearly property taxes for 3 consecutive years, the city has the right to auction it off to the highest bidder! Have a read (and pay your taxes!)
Auction of "tax sale" property
The city holds an auction each November called the “tax sale”. At the tax sale, properties with three years of unpaid property taxes are offered for sale by auction.
The current owners or registered charge holders of these properties have one year after the tax sale to redeem the property from the tax sale process. "Redeeming" is how the original owner makes a payment to rescue their property from the tax sale process.
Once a property is redeemed, the City will refund all the money paid by the bidder, plus interest to the date of redemption, back to the bidder.
If the property is not redeemed, the process of transferring the property's ownership to the new owner starts.
The next tax sale date is November 12, 2015
Updated tax sale lists will be available here each day, starting at 5:00pm on November 5, 2015.
Researching properties before you bid on them
The City is not responsible for the condition or quality of the properties being offered for sale. The City recommends that prospective purchasers of properties sold at the tax sale research each property.
It is important to determine whether there are other restrictions, charges or conditions that may affect a property’s value or sustainability.
How can I find out which properties will be up for auction?
The City publishes a tax sale list online one week before the auction. This list identifies the properties that will be up for auction.
The list may be updated daily and changes may occur up to and during the tax sale auction.
There is no pre-registration to participate in the tax sale auction and seating is limited and available on a first come, first served basis.
In-person attendance is required to participate in the auction. Bidders do not require registration cards to bid.
Bids must be called out during the auction, and the auctioneer will acknowledge bids received.
Bidding begins with the upset price and is followed by surplus bids over the upset price.
The upset price is the total of the oldest years' taxes plus interest to the date of sale plus other additional charges.
Requirements for successful bidders
Successful bidders are required to:
- Provide their driver’s licence or BCID Card with their full name and current address.
- State their occupation.
- Provide their Social Insurance Number.
Successful bidders must secure their bid by paying the upset price.
Payments will be accepted starting one hour after the completion of the auction to 12 pm of the following day and may be made by cash, debit card, certified cheque, or money order (payable to the City of Vancouver).
If you intend to pay via debit card, you may wish to contact your financial institution in advance to determine your daily limit.
Upon payment, the successful bidder receives a Certificate of Purchase.
If the property is not redeemed by the end of the redemption period (one year after the auction) the successful bidder must pay the surplus bid amount within 30 days.