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A Bid For Fairness: How $10,000 in Property Tax Debt Led to a Vulnerable Person Losing Their Home

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

A Bid For Fairness details the case of Ms. Wilson, a vulnerable 60-year-old woman, who failed to pay her property taxes due to personal challenges and ended up losing her home.

The report makes six recommendations – five to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and one to the City of Penticton. Specifically:

  1. Develop plain language template letters for tax sales;
  2. Develop guidelines to notify a property owner before a tax sale occurs;
  3. Amend the Local Government Act to require a municipality to provide notice by registered mail or personal service before a tax sale;
  4. Examine whether the Local Government Act should establish a starting price at auction that reflects the assessed value of a property;
  5. Issue best practice guidelines about how municipalities are to protect vulnerable property owners within the tax sale scheme; and,
  6. Compensate Ms. Wilson in the amount of $140,922.88.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs has accepted all five recommendations.

After initially rejecting our recommendation, the City of Penticton reconsidered and on December 14, 2021, accepted our recommendation for compensation. View the updated news release here.

To read the initial news release, please click here