City usurps high bid-county auction-vacant lots - Posted by PerryIL

Posted by Ben (NJ) on November 10, 2000 at 11:17:01:

so this is a bit out of my area. One correction though, JohnBoy, when you take a property at auction
only JUNIOR liens have been wiped out, senior liens
survive and the property is taken subject to those liens. It is quite possible that the demo liens were assessed after the tax liens and therefore would have
priority over them. You are correct though that the city should be dealing with the “new owner” and not the county. I see alot of these shenanigans pulled here. I went to a sale once where the town was interested in the property and instead of bidding like everyone else (which they are allowed to do) they adjourned the sale again and again for EIGHT weeks in a row hoping everyone would stop coming and the lien would get struck off to the town. Well, they were wrong
I showed up myself or had my representative there every single time until they were forced to sell. Anyway, I digress. I wonder if the City has some kind of “right of first refusal” agreement with the county where they can buy it at the highest bid. Maybe a local attorney can find out? My friend Roy at is a deed buyer as opposed to a lien buyer, he may have some ideas too. Hope this helps.

City usurps high bid-county auction-vacant lots - Posted by PerryIL

Posted by PerryIL on November 09, 2000 at 19:32:18:

I bid $1,127.85 for 3 vacant city lots. I was high bidder.

The county obtained these lots by way of the owner’s failure to pay off the delinquent taxes. The county held an auction to recoup the taxes, and to put the lots back on the tax rolls by way of private ownership and in turn encourage construction of new homes on the lots. The city filed a lien a few days before the auction deadline, to recoup $6-$7,000 in demolition fees that were incurred during the demolition of 2 vacant homes located on the lots.

Now the city is negotiating to buy the lots from the county at my bid price of $1,127.85. The county has title. The title is clouded by the lien, therefore the county can’t sell the lots to me until the city drops the liens. They are now going after the lots to gain ownership and in turn sell the lots at a profit in order to recoup expenses.

A county board member came to my house today and tipped me off to the fact that a member of an organization is going to approach the city and county to ask that they give the lots to their non-profit organization. I am not sure if the city has already been approached by this individual or not. I am a little suspect of the way things have played out.

At a city council meeting 2 months ago, the city attorney approached me and asked what I planned to do with the lots. I said that I was going to build houses on them. He said the council was concerned that the lots not remain vacant for a long period of time (years?)

I have been out of state for the last 2 months and just found out that this whole scenario has been playing itself out in the newspapers. That’s how I found out about the above mentioned facts just today.

Do I have any recourse? Does the fact that I am the high bidder mean anything? Any advice or guidance?

Thanks. PerryIL

City usurps high bid-county auction-vacant lots - Posted by JohnBoy

Posted by JohnBoy on November 10, 2000 at 09:41:57:

My understanding is that once a property has been lost from unpaid taxes, the owner of the tax bill gets the property free and clear from any liens filed against the property. In this case it sounds like the County has legal ownership of the property from failure of the owner to pay the taxes. As a result of getting the lots back, the county in turn auctions them off to recover what ever they can get to recover any taxes owed. You ended as the high bidder of these lots, which the County owned at the time, which should be free and clear of all liens at this point, and now you’re the new owner which should get clear title for the amount you paid from the auction.

Now the city is trying to buy the lots for your bid amount. I would “assume” the city can’t buy the lots from the county at this point since the county has already SOLD the lots to YOU! Now it’s up to YOU as to whether you want to sell the lots to the city or not and for what price. Sounds to me like the city needs to be talking to YOU about buying these, not the county. But I’m not a lawyer, so I would talk to one that specializes in this area.

Maybe Ben NJ would be able to answer this as my understanding is he is an attorney that purchases tax liens in his state.