City scoops properties in tax sale

All five properties on the auction block during this year's tax sale were purchased by the City of Nanaimo.

The City of Nanaimo plucked five properties off the block during this year’s tax sale.

Nanaimo representatives bought the entire inventory of properties in the annual auction, spending $18,699 on the stock.

According to Laura Mercer, the city’s manager of accounting services, the purchases give property owners more flexibility to redeem their land than if it was sold to private parties.

Under the Local Government Act, the municipality is mandated to sell any delinquent properties whose taxes haven’t been paid in three years. Close to 80 were scheduled to go on the block this September. The majority were paid off at the last minute by landowners, leaving five for the sale.

Six people participated in the auction and one person unsuccessfully bid against the city on two properties.

Landowners will now have 12 months to pay the City of Nanaimo the amount owing to keep their property or it will roll over to the municipality. With the city as the property-holder, they also have the option of paying half the outstanding balance before the deadline is up.

“Registered owners always come in and get the money somehow to pay the taxes,” Mercer said. “I’ve never seen anything roll to a purchaser in recent history.”

While the outstanding dollars from the properties can represent millions of dollars, it counts for less than one per cent of total taxes sought each year and does not leave the city with a “huge burden,” according to Mercer, who adds that the money is eventually recouped.

This year the properties in the tax sale include: 1667 Extension Rd.; 383 Westwood Rd.; 2457 East Wellington Rd.; 1009 Beverly Dr.; and 109 Pirates Lane.