Tax Sales in Metro Vancouver BC: Property Auctions in 4 Cities

Tax Sales in Metro Vancouver BC

Tax sales occur annually in cities across British Columbia when property owners fall delinquent on their property taxes. After three years of unpaid taxes, municipalities can auction these properties to recoup the unpaid taxes.

Tax sales represent an opportunity for new homebuyers or real estate investors to purchase property, often at below market value. However, buying property at a tax sale also carries risks.

This guide will provide an overview of tax sales in four major Metro Vancouver cities: Vancouver, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, and Burnaby.

How Tax Sales Work in BC

Before diving into the specifics for each city, let’s review how tax sales generally work across British Columbia:

  • Property taxes are due each year by July 1. If left unpaid, they are considered delinquent after December 31.
  • After 3 years of delinquent taxes, the property becomes eligible for a tax sale auction.
  • The property is auctioned off to the highest bidder above the upset price. This is the total amount of unpaid taxes, penalties, interest and fees.
  • The original owner has one year to redeem the property by paying the unpaid taxes and fees.
  • If they don’t redeem in time, the winning bidder can take ownership and title to the property.

With this general framework in mind, let’s look at the key details for tax sales in the 4 largest cities in Metro Vancouver.

Tax Sales in Vancouver

Vancouver holds its tax sale auction each November at City Hall. Here are some key things to know:

  • The city publishes a tax sale list online 1 week prior showing properties up for auction. This list can change up to and during the auction.
  • Registration or pre-bidding is not required. Bidding takes place through oral calls during the live auction.
  • Successful bidders must provide ID and payment immediately after the auction concludes. Only cash, debit, certified checks or money orders are accepted.
  • Bidders are responsible for researching properties beforehand. The city does not guarantee condition or quality.
  • Original owners have 1 year from the auction date to redeem the property by repaying all taxes and fees.

Vancouver published a full guide to its tax sale process on its website with additional details for potential bidders.

Tax Sales in West Vancouver

West Vancouver holds its tax sale auction on the last Monday in September each year at 10am in the Council Chambers at City Hall. Here’s what to know:

  • To prevent a property from being sold, delinquent taxes must be paid before 10am on the tax sale date.
  • Property addresses are published in the local newspaper if taxes remain unpaid by mid-September.
  • Original owners have 1 year to redeem the property after the sale.
  • Registered charge holders also have full redemption rights.
  • If no redemption occurs, the winning bidder can register the title with the Land Title Office after 1 year.

Full details are available on the District of West Vancouver’s tax sale page.

Tax Sales in North Vancouver

The District of North Vancouver holds its tax sale on the last Monday in September each year. Key points include:

  • An initial list of properties is published in the local newspaper before the sale. This list can change up to the auction time.
  • Bidders must pre-register at District Hall and provide a bank draft for the maximum they intend to bid.
  • Winning bidders cannot take possession or title for 1 year, allowing time for the owner to redeem.
  • If the property sells, bid amount is deducted from the bank draft. Remaining balance is refunded within a week.
  • It is the bidder’s responsibility to research property conditions and restrictions before bidding.

See the District of North Vancouver’s tax sale info page for more.

Tax Sales in Burnaby

Burnaby’s tax sale takes place on the last Monday in September at 10am in Council Chambers at City Hall. Here are the key details:

  • To avoid publication, delinquent taxes must be paid approx 3 weeks before the tax sale date.
  • The upset price is total taxes + penalties + interest + fees. This is the minimum bid.
  • Successful bidders must provide ID and payment by certified check, bank draft, or wire transfer immediately.
  • Original owners have 1 year to redeem the property after the sale.
  • If no redemption, the winning bidder can register the title after 1 year.
  • All sales are “as-is” – the city does not guarantee condition. Bidders are responsible for research.

Burnaby published a Property Tax Sale overview document with further details.

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Consider Carefully Before Buying at Tax Sale

If you’re considering bidding at a property tax sale auction, make sure to do your homework. Here are some key risks and considerations:

That said, tax sales can occasionally provide opportunities for huge savings and profit potential. Just make sure to consult professionals and research thoroughly before you bid!

Recapping Tax Sales in Vancouver, West Vancouver, North Vancouver and Burnaby

Tax sales represent an annual opportunity to purchase property at below market value in cities across Metro Vancouver. However, bidders take on clear risks buying property sight unseen.

While the auction process varies slightly, key points are consistent across Vancouver, West Vancouver, North Vancouver and Burnaby:

Overall, tax sales are best suited for experienced real estate investors with ample cash reserves. Casual homebuyers may want to consider alternatives that allow more control over the property condition.

With the right research, realistic expectations, and some luck, tax sales can represent a chance to purchase premium Metro Vancouver properties at a heavy discount. Use this guide to understand the Fine Print before participating in these property auctions.

Q: What is a tax sale?

A: A tax sale is a public auction where properties with unpaid property taxes are sold to the highest bidder.

Q: How do I contact the tax sale department?

A: You can find the contact information for the tax sale department on our website or contact us directly for assistance.

Q: What happens to the property if it is redeemed?

A: If the property is redeemed, it means that the owner has paid the outstanding taxes plus interest, and they retain ownership of the property.

Q: What is an upset price?

A: The upset price is the minimum bid required for a property to be sold at a tax sale auction. It is set by the province.

Q: How long is the redemption period?

A: The redemption period is one year after the property is sold at tax sale. During this time, the owner has the right to redeem the property by paying the purchase price plus interest.

Q: What happens if the property is not redeemed?

A: If the property is not redeemed within the redemption period, the purchaser becomes the new owner of the property.

Q: How can I participate in a tax sale auction?

A: To participate in a tax sale auction, you will need to register as a bidder and bring a cheque for the full upset price.

Q: What is the date of redemption?

A: The date of redemption is the date by which the owner must redeem the property by paying the purchase price plus interest to the collector.

Q: What is the role of the purchaser in a tax sale?

A: The purchaser is the person who successfully bids on a property at a tax sale auction and becomes the new owner if the property is not redeemed.

Q: What is the interest rate on the purchase price?

A: The interest rate on the purchase price is set by the province and is applied from the date of the tax sale to the date of redemption.

Keep Browsing:

  1. Just How Expensive Is It To Live In Vancouver, BC?
  2. 5 Richest Parts of Vancouver Neighbourhoods

Sources:

https://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/auction-of-tax-sale-property.aspx

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/local-governments/finance/requisition-taxation/municipal-property-tax-sale


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