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BC Town Sells Landlord’s Property Cheap Compared to Unpaid Taxes – Without Telling Him

Spallumcheen admits wrongdoing but then tries to get low compensation, British Columbia Supreme Court finds

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The town of Spalumchen, near Armstrong, has learned the hard way how not to deal with delinquent property taxes.

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According to a recent ruling by the British Columbia Supreme Court, in September 2017, the town sold a man’s property in its annual municipal tax sale for $11,300 without telling him.

At the time, the property was valued at $159,000, and unpaid taxes were $6,700.

The town admitted it made a mistake in not notifying Anthony Brent Morgan, or the person who had a mortgage on the property, until after the deal was done, allowing the buyer to acquire the nine-acre plot of land in beautiful Spallumchen. The valley for dirt is cheap.

The court case was to determine how much Morgan should receive from the town of Okanagan in compensation, and highlighted the huge jump in rural property values ​​in British Columbia over the past few years.

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The court heard that Morgan bought the land in 2011 for $160,000 and began improving it — including building a driveway, connecting power, water and gas, and building a lid for two large metal storage containers on the property.

In 2012, he moved a trailer to the property and lived there with his family until an inland law officer forced him to leave the land because he didn’t have a permit for the trailer or sewage field.

Morgan moved to Vernon, where he still lives with his family in a rented house. He started struggling financially and was unable to pay property taxes, the court heard, It fell into arrears.

“(The town) failed to notify the plaintiff or mortgagee of the tax sale in accordance with the notice requirements (local government law), and neither the plaintiff nor the mortgagee was aware that the property was to be sold or sold in a tax sale until the expiration of the refund period,” Judge Gordon Werrell wrote in his ruling. .

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In court, the borough claimed it must compensate Morgan based on the appraised value of the property in 2018 ($170,000), a year after it was sold, the date Morgan can no longer recover it.

Morgan thought he should receive a $360,000 payment based on the estimated value in the trial in January 2022 — a difference of $190,000.

The court also heard that this had not happened before – the municipality sells property for a tax refund without telling the owner.

The court sided with the plaintiff, and ordered the town to pay Morgan $360,000, minus $7,693 in accumulated taxes owed.

Werrell said Morgan, 57, had intended to retire on the property.

In reasoning for the ruling, Weatherill stated, “When the defendant sold the property, he (Morgan) did not have the ability to purchase a replacement and lost the significant increase in property value in the area since September 2018.

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“In other words, had the tax sale not been made or notified and the property was reclaimed, the plaintiff would have continued to own the property and would have enjoyed the increase in its value over the years. The tax sale deprived him of that increase.

“Failure on the part of the local government to follow the legislation, including failure to notify the owner/fee holder brings with it, and should in my opinion bring with it serious consequences, i.e. having to justly compensate (i.e. compensate) the owner/fee holder for any losses and damages arising from sale.”

dcarrigg@postmedia.com


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2022-05-11 15:35:46

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