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Taxes overdue for more than 1,600 Mecklenburg properties

Mecklenburg County has created a searchable map of properties the county could foreclose on and sell because of past-due taxes.
Mecklenburg County has created a searchable map of properties the county could foreclose on and sell because of past-due taxes. tsumlin@charlotteobserver.com

Take it as a last warning or a business opportunity: Mecklenburg County has created a searchable map of properties the county could foreclose on and sell for past-due taxes.

Notices went out to 1,641 property owners on Sept. 12 to let them know their homes or businesses are shown on the foreclosure map, which is intended to find bidders for the properties.

Want to keep your property? Pay your taxes in full.

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Mecklenburg County has created a searchable map of properties the county could foreclose on and sell because of past-due taxes. Mecklenburg County

The county warned earlier this year that it’s cracking down on taxpayers who are five years or more behind on their property taxes. In many cases, that will mean legally taking and reselling the property.

Foreclosure sales have been fairly rare in the past – 36 to 40 times a year in recent years.

But that number could conceivably grow to thousands under the county’s more aggressive tactics.

At the end of 2016, taxes were overdue for 7,864 properties, with bills totaling $23 million. Nearly half the overdue bills were more than five years overdue.

Yes, the Office of the Tax Collector has completed the process to contract with two legal services firms (law firms) and one real estate service firm.

The county has contracted with two law firms to work on collections, including foreclosures, and one real estate services firm to market foreclosed properties. The county itself may bid on property that has no takers, for county use or to transfer to a partner for uses such as affordable housing.

The county’s strategy to collect overdue taxes starts with expanded legal pressure when tax bills are two to five years overdue. Taxpayers more than five years late get full pressure, potentially including foreclosure.

Bruce Henderson: 704-358-5051, @bhender

How Foreclosure Works

Once an overdue property tax bill is referred to a county attorney, the attorney will notify the owner of the county’s intent to foreclose. The attorney will try to reach all interested parties, including the heirs or minor children of dead taxpayers. The impending sale is published in the Mecklenburg Times, which reports on real estate, and posted in the county courthouse. The property is sold on the courthouse steps to the high bidder, although higher upset bids may be made for a time after the sale. The taxpayer has the right to pay back taxes and costs until the sale becomes final. The process typically takes up to nine months.

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