The City of Toronto hopes to sell off 22 properties later this month to recoup more than $21.1M in unpaid property tax.
The properties are slated to be sold off in the Sale of Land by Public Tender, also known as a property tax sale. The majority of properties up for grabs are vacant commercial units, 17 of which are inside of 222 Spadina Avenue in Chinatown. A boarded up commercial/residential property along Eglinton Avenue East in Scarborough is also on the list.
Another of the properties listed, an industrial lot at 99 Toryork Drive in North York, is one of Toronto's most notorious property tax evaders, having been on the City's list of property tax debtors since 2000. As of 2019, its owner -- who some said has died -- owed $4.5M in taxes to the City, according to a Toronto Star report. And this isn't the first time 99 Toryork has been put up for sale either. It was offered up in 2008, 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2016, but no successful tenders came through. It's currently the most expensive property listed for sale with a minimum tender amount of $5,757,232. The other properties have minimum prices ranging from just under $36,000 to $2.8M.
As seen in the case of 99 Toryork, properties listed in this kind of sale have years of unpaid property taxes owing on them. The City says it makes every attempt to allow the owners to pay these taxes before selling the properties off. After a minimum of two years of unpaid taxes, a Tax Arrears Certificate is registered against the property, after which the City must wait a year before putting the property up for sale. Until the property is sold, the owner or another interested party -- a lien or mortgage holder, for example -- has the opportunity to pay the taxes off in full.
"The City makes every reasonable attempt to contact the property owner by mail, telephone, site visits and speaking with neighbours to locate and inform the property owner before listing a property for sale," the City of Toronto website reads.
For the upcoming sale -- the bid period for which will close on June 29 -- if a property owner pays their outstanding taxes before the last day of the sale, they will be able to retain their property.
All of the properties are purchased in as-is condition, which, for these listings can mean taking on existing liens or other claims on the title. The City strongly advises that interested buyers seek legal advice before submitting a bid.
The full list of properties up for sale, as well as information on how to submit a bid, is available on the City of Toronto website.