The Cities and Towns Act (R.S.Q., c. C-19) provides that municipalities have the right to sell a property at public auction (house, vacant lot) for unpaid municipal or school taxes, in whole or in part.

The following text is published for informational purposes only and aims to help understanding the provisions and steps that govern the sales for unpaid taxes process; it cannot replace a thorough reading of the law.

Deposit of the List of Concerned Immovables and Order from Council

The Treasurer draws a list of immovables bearing tax arrears and submits it to Council. After reviewing it, Council may order the City Clerk to proceed with a public auction sale of the immovables at a specific date.

Notice to the Owners and Publication of a Notice in a Local Newspaper

Within 30 days of the order by Council, the City Clerk sends each owner of a concerned immovable a certified letter and gives a first public notice of the day, time and place where the auction sale will be held. The notice also states the cadastral number and address of each concerned immovable, the name of the owners and the amounts owed for each property.

Properties are stricken off the list upon the full payment of the amounts owed. The list of remaining immovables and the name of their owners is then published one more time in the same newspaper. The auction sale cannot be held prior to a 15 days delay from the publication of the second notice. To prevent the auction sale of a property, its owner must pay the amounts owed in full or make a payment agreement with the Finance Department (if eligible) on the day before the sale at the latest.

Registration of a Notice of Sale for Non-Payment of Taxes in the Land Registry

Upon the first publication of a notice in the newspaper, the City Clerk transmits a copy of the notice to the Registrar, who notifies every registered holder of a right on the registry (mortgagee, legal mortgagee, co-owners of a condo-type immovable, etc.) of the notice of sale of the immovable in question.

Conditions of Sale

Any interested bidder must be able to provide a valid proof of identity with photo (driver's licence, health insurance card, passport), their name, date and place of birth, a complete residential address, and a mandate or power of attorney, if representing another person.

Any interested legal entity (such as business corporation, union, association) must be able to provide its name, legal status and incorporation act, its complete head office address AND, for the person representing a legal entity, the representative's name and capacity, and a certified copy of the enabling resolution.

The payment of the sale price and any applicable taxes must be made in full immediately at the adjudication in cash, postal money order, bank draft or money order or certified cheque made payable to the City of Beaconsfield. Payments by regular cheques, debit or credit cards are not accepted. If the amount of the payment exceeds the sale price, the City will pay back the excess amount to the purchaser by cheque, without any interests, within 10 days of the sale. If the amount is not paid in full immediately, the City shall put back the immovable up for sale.

Adjudication

The immovable is awarded to the highest bidder. An adjudication certificate is remitted to the purchaser.

The purchaser shall then be seized of the immovable adjudicated, including its buildings and constructions, if any, and may enter into possession thereof, but shall not remove existing timber or buildings during one year following the date of adjudication.

The purchaser takes the immovable in the condition in which it is at the time of the adjudication, without any warranty as to its contents, its soil quality, and its buildings, if any, with all the relevant rights of the previous owner, including all servitudes.

The responsibility of looking up the condition of the immovable, its location and the applicable by-laws is on the purchaser.

Right to Redeem

An immovable sold for non-payment of taxes may be redeemed by its former owner or his legal representatives, at any time within the year following the date of sale, by paying to the purchaser the sale price, including the cost of the certificate of adjudication, with interests at the rate of ten per cent per year. In that case, the Cities and Towns Act does not provide that the former owner has to pay back the betterment expenditures to the purchaser. During that year, the purchaser is considered a bona fide possessor and has to keep and take good care of the immovable the way a reasonable person would.

Final Deed of Sale

If, within one year from the day of the sale, the immovable adjudicated has not been redeemed by the owner, the purchaser shall become the absolute owner thereof.

The purchaser, upon exhibiting the certificate of his purchase and upon proving the payment of all municipal and school taxes, shall then be entitled to a deed of sale from the Council, executed by the Mayor or City Clerk, by deed before a notary. The purchaser must pay all the notary fees related to that deed (drafting, registration, cancellation, etc.).

At that time, the purchaser must pay the applicable duties on transfers of immovables and park fees, as the case may be.

The sale vests in the purchaser all the rights of the original owner, and purges the immovable from any mortgage to which it may be subject. The registration of the deed of sale shall effect the cancellation of the registration of the mortgage registered against the immovable.