Tax Sale

Preparations are now underway for TAX SALE to be held on March 10, 2021. 

 If you are a taxpayer in the County of Antigonish and your tax or utility account is two or more years in arrears, your property could be sold at tax sale.

  • For those accounts in arrears, a Preliminary Notice of Tax Sale will be mailed to the property owner(s) at the current address on file.
  • From the date of this notice, the taxpayer has fourteen (14) days to settle their account or to contact the Municipal Office and make payment arrangements.
  • Once the preliminary notice has expired, a title search is conducted on the property and the costs associated with this search become part of the expense of the sale and a lien on the property.
  • A formal Notice of Tax Sale is prepared next and comprises the arrears of rates and taxes, interest, legal and title search costs, land registration fees, advertising charges and administration costs.
  • This formal notice of tax sale is mailed to the account holder via registered mail. Sixty (60) days after the date of the Notice of Tax Sale, the property will be advertised in the local newspaper.
  • There is a sixty (60) day period from the date of this notice where the account holder has the opportunity to pay their arrears, plus all costs incurred to date of payment.
  • If full payment is made within these sixty days, then the property does not get advertised in the local newspaper and is pulled from the sale.
  • The first public advertisement will appear no sooner than sixty days from the date on the Notice of Tax Sale.
  • A second notice is published within the thirty (30) days prior to the sale.
  • A physical poster is also displayed in a prominent place on the property slated for sale.
  • The property owner has up to the day before the sale to pay their account balance and avoid having their property auctioned at the sale.

Public Auction:

On the day of the tax sale each purchaser or their agent must register and receive a bidder number. Each person attending the sale is given a list of the sale properties and a hand-out outlining the tax sale procedures. Properties will be sold in the same order they are shown in the advertisement in the local paper.

The opening bid on each property will be the amount of taxes, interest and expenses outstanding at the commencement of the sale. Payment of the taxes, interest and expenses must be made by Cash, Credit Card (Visa, MasterCard, Amex.), Certified Cheque (Money Order) or Lawyers Trust Cheque immediately following the sale of each property. The balance of the purchase price, if any, must be made by Cash, Credit Card (Visa, M/C, Amex), Certified Cheque or Lawyer Trust Cheque within three (3) business days of this sale.

Properties sold at tax sale with six (6) years taxes or less outstanding will be subject to a six (6) month redemption period prior to a tax deed being issued. A tax deed will be issued in a reasonable time for non-redeemable properties sold at tax sale with more than six (6) years taxes outstanding.

~ The Municipality does not guarantee that any property sold at tax sale will meet Nova Scotia Department of Environment or Nova Scotia Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal regulations for the purpose of obtaining a building permit. ~

The Municipality of the County of Antigonish makes no representations or warranties to any purchaser regarding the fitness, geographical or environmental suitability of the land(s) offered for sale for any particular use and does not certify the legal title, legal description or boundaries AND the lands offered for sale are being sold on an “as is” basis.

If you have further questions about this process or an upcoming sale, please contact Vera at 902-863-1117 or e mail vera.rhynold@antigonishcounty.ns.ca

Tax Sale Procedures 

  • Tax sales are always conducted in compliance with the Municipal Government Act and have met all requirements therein.
  • Only those properties deemed admissible upon final administrative and legal review will proceed to sale.
  • Properties will be sold in the same order as they are listed in the local newspaper advertisement
  • The opening bid on each property will consist of the amount of taxes, interest and expenses outstanding at the commencement of this sale
  • Payment of the taxes, interest, and expenses must be made by CASH, CREDIT CARD (Visa, MasterCard, Amex), CERTIFIED CHEQUE (Money Order) or LAWYER’S TRUST CHEQUE immediately following the sale of each property – No other form of payment will be accepted
  • The balance of the purchase price, if any, must be made by CASH, CREDIT CARD (Visa, MasterCard, Amex), CERTIFIED CHEQUE (Money Order), or LAWYER’S TRUST CHEQUE within three (3) business days of this sale
  • If you are the successful bidder, please proceed to the tax office immediately to make payment
  • Bidding on the next property will not begin until the cashier returns to the room and confirms the successful completion of the sale of the current property. If for any reason the sale is not completed successfully, bidding will re-open on this property before moving to the next one
  • A tax deed will be issued within a reasonable time on all Non-Redeemable properties (with more than six (6) years outstanding taxes) sold at tax sale
  • Redeemable properties (with six (6) years or less outstanding taxes) sold at tax sale will be subject to a six (6) month redemption period prior to a tax deed being issued
  • The Municipality does not guarantee any property sold at tax sale will meet Nova Scotia Department of Environment or Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal regulations for the purpose of obtaining a building permit

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the “Right of Redemption” associated with a Tax Sale?
  • For properties sold at tax sale with six years or less outstanding taxes, the right of redemption exists. As the tax sale is a public auction, the property goes to the highest bidder. If the owner of the property is not the highest bidder the day of the sale, the redemption provisions of the Municipal Government Act apply.
  • The right of redemption exists for up to six (6) months after the tax sale. The right to redeem may be exercised by an owner of the property, the holder of a mortgage or other lien, or a person with an interest in the land.
  • To redeem, the person redeeming must pay:
  1. the sum paid by the purchaser (less any surplus remaining after paying the taxes, interest, expenses and other charges)
  2. interest at 10% per annum on the total amount paid by the purchaser
  3.  taxes and interest for the next fiscal year after the sale
  4. the recording fee for the certificate of discharge
  5. all fire insurance premiums paid by the purchaser
  6. all sums paid by the purchaser for necessary repairs to the property (as long as those repairs were approved by the Treasurer in writing)
  7. less any rent or other income earned by the purchaser from the property
What happens to the proceeds of a tax sale that are beyond those amounts required to pay the taxes, other rates and charges, interest and expenses?
  • If bidding on a property at a tax sale results in the Municipality receiving funds in excess of what is required to recover it’s taxes, other rates and charges, interest and expenses; those funds are placed in a “tax sale surplus account”.
  • Funds from a Municipality’s tax sale surplus account can only be dispensed by a Court Order.
  • An application to Court to pay out the tax sale surplus will usually be made by the former owner, but might be a trustee in bankruptcy, or some of the heirs of a former owner. None of the surplus is paid out until the redemption period, if there is one, has expired.
  • The Municipality remains liable to a person entitled to the surplus for twenty (20) years.
What is “clearing title” and what role does it play in tax sales?
  • Properties are sold at tax sale for arrears of taxes and services only. An owner, however, may let their property go to tax sale to clear title.
  • Once the Chief Administrative Officer has advised those at the tax sale of the property to be sold and the particulars associated with the sale, the owner may announce to those present that they have allowed the property taxes to go in arrears on purpose and request that no one bid on the property, however, since it is a public auction others cannot be prevented from bidding if they wish to.
  • The point of the announcement is to deter the bidders since the person attempting to clear title will presumably redeem the property immediately if there are other bidders.
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