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:
- Develop plain language template letters for tax sales;
- Develop guidelines to notify a property owner before a tax sale occurs;
- Amend the Local Government Act to require a municipality to provide notice by registered mail or personal service before a tax sale;
- Examine whether the Local Government Act should establish a starting price at auction that reflects the assessed value of a property;
- Issue best practice guidelines about how municipalities are to protect vulnerable property owners within the tax sale scheme; and,
- Compensate Ms. Wilson in the amount of $140,922.88.
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs has accepted all five recommendations. The City of Penticton has rejected the Ombudsperson’s recommendation.
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