Montgomery County Tax Sale
*UPDATE*: As of May 24, the real property taxes and charges owed by the Washington-McLaughlin property owner have been paid and the property has been removed from the Montgomery County Tax Sale. Information on the entity which made the tax payment is not public. The City will be receiving the taxes owed for Levy Years 2012-2016 (about $28,000).
The Montgomery County Department of Finance has posted information about the upcoming annual Tax Sale for Real Property, which will take place on June 12, 2017. The process and requirements are available on the County’s tax sale website. The list of tax sale properties, which was made publicly available on May 18, includes the Washington-McLaughlin School at 6501 Poplar Avenue, a property of particular interest to the community.
A “tax sale” is a sale of the tax lien on a property, not of the property itself. The property owner, or other person having an estate or interest in the property, can redeem the property tax lien at any time until the “right of redemption” is foreclosed by an order of the Circuit Court. During the redemption period, the property owner has the right to continue to possess or occupy the property and to exercise all rights of ownership until the right of redemption is finally foreclosed by an order of the Circuit Court.
For the first four months after the date of the tax sale, properties can be redeemed without payment of the expenses or legal fees of the tax sale certificate holder (the purchaser of the tax lien at the tax sale). After the expiration of six months from the date of the tax sale, the tax sale certificate holder can file a complaint in the Circuit Court to foreclose all rights of redemption in the property sold at the tax sale. If the court enters a final judgment foreclosing the right of redemption of the property, then title to the property will pass to the tax sale certificate holder. However, the property owner or other person having an estate or interest in the property can redeem the property by paying the delinquent taxes and all other charges –including interest, expenses, and legal fees –to the tax sale purchaser, at any time before the final judgment foreclosing the right of redemption is entered by the Circuit Court. This is when the tax sale purchaser will have to pay the balance of the tax sale purchase price, together with taxes and charges accruing subsequent to the tax sale. If an action to foreclose the right of redemption is not filed within two years after the date of the tax sale, then the tax sale certificate is void.
The Washington-McLaughlin property is currently zoned R-60. Generally, R-60 zoning is for moderate density residential uses. The predominant use in an R-60 zone is residential detached houses.
City Code Chapter 6.32, Tenant Opportunity to Purchase, and County Code, Chapter 53A, Tenant Displacement, apply only to sales or transfers of legal or equitable ownership of rental housing. Because the tax sale is not a sale of the property, but rather a sale of the tax lien on the property, neither would regulation would apply for properties listed in the tax sale.