Cape Breton Post
Here’s your chance to pick up new home cheap.
Former Billy D's Lounge property in Glace Bay holds record for taxes owing
SYDNEY — Bargains await for those looking to pick up a property on the cheap at the latest tax sale offered by the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.
This is the first property tax sale since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, although there was a property tender sale in February.
The minimum bid is taxes owing, which in some cases dips as low as around $1,000. However, there are some redhot deals during the tax sale as well, including several parcels of land hovering around $600.
Thirty-eight of the properties have buildings situated on them.
CBRM finance manager Adam MacNeil said there are some properties left over from the previous municipal tax sale.
“We include a number of them on every tax sale,” MacNeil said.
104 PROPERTIES UP FOR BIDS
This round there are 104 properties up for bid by tender. There are many properties in outlying areas including Tower Road, Birch Grove, Balls Creek and Irish Cove, as well as the larger communities of Sydney, Glace Bay, Dominion and New Waterford.
Only so many properties are chosen for each tax sale, said MacNeil. There is a lot of work involved in preparing the property for tax sale, including property searches by their legal department, he said.
Some of the major factors with the ones chosen include the years of unpaid taxes, the amount owing and account activity.
MacNeil said the tax department spends considerable time contacting residents with tax arrears and works with them to try to set up payment arrangements.
“A tax sale is the last avenue we’ll explore,” he said.
Sometimes once a property is listed for tax sale, the owner will pay the balance on their account to get the property removed. MacNeil said it’s only a small percentage who do decide to take that route.
“For the most part most properties go forward for sale.”
TWO TYPES OF PROPERTIES
There are two types of properties listed on the tax sale, including an immediate sale, where the deed is presented to the winning bidder. This includes properties with more than six years of taxes owing.
MacNeil said the only way an owner could save it at this point is by payment in full prior to the sale.
Tenders close on July 6 at 11 a.m.
“If it has over six years taxes owing, once it’s sold, it’s immediate,” he said. “There’s no redemption period. If their property is sold on the (tax) sale, there is no chance they can get it back.”
However, with properties with less than six years of taxes owing, the current owner has a six-month right to get their property back.
“What that means is if a property is sold at a tax sale, it gives the current owner an opportunity to settle the tax arrears and maintain the ownership of their property,” MacNeil said.
“The winning bidder can’t take ownership until that time
passes. If the current owner doesn’t pay, they lose the ownership of their property.”
RECORD TAXES OWING
However, one could safely bet there will be some leftovers once this round of tax sales has ended.
A property at 622 Main St. in Glace Bay has a starting bid of $361,334.64.
MacNeil said that is the highest starting bid he has ever seen associated with one of their property tax sales.
This is the third time this property has been featured on a tax sale and given the hefty starting bid, the third time will probably not be the charm.
After a property has been on the municipal tax sale
three times, it then goes up for tender sale.
The property shows ownership as Roy Almon Enterprises Ltd. At one time the former Billy D’s Lounge was one of several businesses located there before being destroyed in a massive fire in 2016.
The next highest amount of taxes owing is $98,192.65 on a piece of land at Convent Street in New Waterford, followed by the former Carmel Centre at 3208 Mount Carmel Ave. with a tax bill of $92,590.42.
DOWN THE HATCH
A former reality television star known for picking up cheap properties in the CBRM a couple of decades
ago has again not been keeping up with his municipal tax bill.
Eleven properties owned by Richard Hatch of Newport, R.I., the first winner of the popular television show, “Survivor,” are also up for grabs.
Hatch first purchased 17 properties for $13,800 during a CBRM property tax sale in October 2002, including a commercial lot and residential building lots in Sydney Mines, Donkin, Sydney, Glace Bay and New Waterford.
Many of his properties up for tax sale this time are appraised at $500 each.
HOW TO BID
Due to the current public health regulations, anyone interested in purchasing a property must present a sealed tender bid at CBRM city hall in a drop box in the lobby. Sealed bids can also be mailed in but cannot be sent electronically.
Proponents may withdraw, replace or modify their bid up until the specified closing time if it’s in writing. Faxed and electronic modifications are acceptable.
Each tender must be accompanied by a money order, certified cheque, or lawyer’s trust cheque for minimum bid amount plus $200.
Tax sales do not always clear up defects in title, the tax deed only conveys the interest of those assessed.
MacNeil said the municipality is getting a lot of calls regarding these properties. He encourages people to check out the frequently asked questions section on the CBRM website.