Considering a Tax Sale Purchase?

The Municipal Act provides important definitions including the following summaries:

Cancellation Price means an amount equal to all the realty tax arrears owing on a parcel of land at any time in respect of land together with all current realty taxes, interest, penalties, and reasonable costs incurred by the City. Municipal by-law no. 070, 2002 sets the scale of costs for the tax registration process.

Tax Deed is a tax deed, as prescribed by Section 379 of the Act, provided to the successful purchaser of the property after payment of the balance of the tendered bid price.

Notice of Vesting means a notice prepared under Section 379 (15) of the Act conferring title to the City where there has been no successful tender of a parcel of land and the sale has not been cancelled by the City Treasurer.

Points to Consider:

* a separate tender must be provided for each parcel bid on and must be on the form provided. No substitutes can be accepted.
* the tender must be accompanied by a deposit of 20% of the tendered bid amount by way of money order, bank draft or certified cheque payable to the City of Cornwall.
* the Treasurer is under no obligation to determine the value of the land before conducting said sale. Access to the properties being sold will not be provided.
* the Municipality is not responsible to provide a survey or reference plan for any parcel offered for "tax sale" or responsible for the condition of the property.
* the Municipality is not required to provide vacant possession of any properties should the purchaser require vacant possession. Further the City DOES NOT have a key to the property and is not in possession to provide one to the purchaser.
* the City does not provide legal opinions to potential bidders in respect of issues which may arise in the context of a public sale. If two bids of equal amount are tendered, then the person who submitted the earlier bid will be deemed to be the higher bid.
* the highest bidder is the successful purchaser if the purchaser pays the accumulated taxes, any costs incurred by the municipality, the land transfer tax, G.S.T. and the sale price (which must be equal to or greater than the cancellation price).
* the minimum bid is the Cancellation Price.
* if no bid or no bid equal to or greater than the cancellation price is received, the municipality has the option to receive title to the land by registering a notice of vesting.
* if there is a successful bid but the bidder fails to pay the balance of the cancellation price, the second highest bidder will be the successful purchaser and given the opportunity to pay the balance of the cancellation price within the specified time. Upon compliance, the second highest bidder will then be officially declared the successful purchaser.
* payment must be in CASH, and must be made within fourteen days from official notification by the municipality of the sale. The Municipal Act defines "CASH" to be "cash or money order or bank draft or certified cheque drawn on a bank, trust company or Province of Ontario savings office".
* accumulated taxes refer to any additional charges, taxes and/or interest and penalty that have been incurred beyond the first advertisement date of the cancellation price to the public tender.
* the municipality makes no representation regarding the title to or any other matters on the land to be sold. Responsibility for ascertaining these matters (Registry Office, Sheriff, etc.) rests with the potential purchasers.
* the following departments/agencies may be in a position to provide assistance in respect of the tax sale property:

Zoning & Development Information - Dept. of Planning & Housing Services, (613) 930-2787 ext. 2328

Work Order Information - Building Permits & By-law Enforcement Division, (613) 930-2787 ext. 2323

Registry Office for the City of Cornwall - 126 Sydney Street, Cornwall, Ont.

Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) - 1-800-296-6722 or

* if you wish to have legal counselling prior to bidding on any tax sale properties, this decision is at your own discretion.
* potential bidders are further advised that legal counsel should be retained in order to ensure that his/her interests are protected if the tendered bid is declared the highest bid and subsequently is declared the successful purchaser once the balance of the purchase price has been submitted.
* the onus is on the potential purchaser to conduct his/her own investigation into such matters as zoning, work orders, water/hydro arrears, future development possibilities, building restrictions or title problems, etc. The City makes no representations as to the quality and/or quantity of the land being sold.
* Section 382 (6) of the Municipal Act allows the Treasurer to halt proceedings if it is not in the financial interests of the municipality to continue with proceedings under the act.
* all tenders including the successful tender are subject to the Treasurer's discretion to cancel the tax sale at any time pursuant to the Municipal Act 2001 without any recourse by the successful bidder or any other bidder against the City of Cornwall or the Treasurer.
* a tax deed which is provided to the successful purchaser transfers title of the land in "fee simple" and is subject to the following:
o all rights, privileges, and appurtenances. e.g. right-of-way
o easements and restrictive covenants that run with the land
o interests of the Provincial or Federal Crown
o claims of adverse possession by abutting landowners

Need more information?
Send us your request in writing at the following address, leaving us your name, address, telephone number and we would be pleased to respond to your query as expediously as possible.

Financial Services Department
City of Cornwall
340 Pitt Street, 4th Floor
Cornwall, Ontario
K6H 5T9

Fax: (613) 932-9899

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