The Ultimate Guide to Tax Sales Nova Scotia (2022)

How does tax sale work in Nova Scotia?

If a property tax account in Nova Scotia has been in arrears for more than two years, the municipality takes control of and sells the property to recover tax revenue. It is done at least two tax sales each year.


Nova Scotia Tax Sales

You will be able to view an up-to-date list of tax sale properties that are presently up for auction as soon as a new date for the next tax sale has been set. The property will either be sold at a public auction, in which the highest bidder wins, or by public tender, in which you will submit a written statement describing it. There is a minimum bid requirement. This refers to the lowest amount of money that the municipality of the county must obtain in order to sell the property. The sum covers all outstanding taxes, fines, interests, and sale expenses that the municipality will have to cover.

A minimum amount does not necessarily mean you can buy the property for that low price. This is just the lowest amount that the municipality is allowed to accept for the property. Any bid that falls below the minimum amount must be rejected by the municipality. Generally, the person who submits the highest bid will be allowed to buy the property.

You should bear in mind that if you are announced a successful bidder, the title will be passed to you at the end of the redemption period if the property has not yet been redeemed. The redemption period for Nova Scotia is 6 months.

What should you know before you bid for a property?

Before deciding to purchase a tax sale property, it is vital to understand that the municipality does not own the estate's title, and they do not have access to any further information about it. This implies that the market value of the property you are purchasing may be higher or lower than the minimum bid.

Before placing a bid, carefully review the title and instruments to discover what will remain on the title and become your responsibility after it is transferred. It's also worth noting that while you may go past the property, you are not permitted to enter or survey it.

A few other things to note if you are announced a successful bidder:

1. There is no vacant possession

2. You will not receive a key to the property

3. You might be responsible for the eviction process of any tenants that may still reside on the property (if there are any).

The municipality is not obligated to evict tenants of the property. If there are still people living in the property when you purchase it, you may need to hire a bailiff or lawyer to handle the eviction process.

4. You should check if there are any Federal or Provincial liens on the property’s title.

Before going for a public auction, we recommend to order a title search using – a Title Search Report (the report will be issued in 1-2 business days) provides detailed information on the property, including former owners, liens, mortgages or other encumbrances if any.

5. You should investigate zoning, planning, or building restrictions, as well as any work orders.

If you are planning to do any work on the property, it is crucial that you first check you are allowed to. Either go to the City Hall to do your research or see if your municipality has a "Find your zoning" page, where you can figure out zoning by the roll number.

6. You are responsible for any environmental concerns if there are contamination issues with the property (if there are any)

"Environmentally contaminated" properties are those built on lands that are polluted in some way, or properties that have contributed to pollution – for example, properties that are used for gas stations or industrial use.

If you choose to buy such a property, you may be liable to pay for environmental clean-up, which can be pricey. For this reason, it is not recommended to buy an environmentally contaminated property unless you have the expertise and funding to employ a clean-up that satisfies all legal requirements. It is also advisable that you view properties before submitting a bid, so that you may determine (a) whether the property is environmentally contaminated, and (b) whether you are willing and able to have an environmental clean-up done.

7. We recommend finding and securing a good lawyer to protect your interests before submitting a bid.

To figure out which interests will affect a property after a tax sale, you'll need to get an up-to-date title search report. A title search report is a comprehensive study of the property's title history. Documents include deeds, court records, and other paperwork, as well as any issues that might jeopardize your ownership of the property after a tax sale.

Members can order reports directly from our site with up to 50% discount. An in-house title report specialist will prepare a "Title Search Report" in a way that is easy to understand.

By having a Title Search Report updated 1-2 business days before the auction, you will be able to see if any additional significant interests against the property have been registered since your first search.

Tax Sale Procedures (Tender)

1. Decide how much you are willing to pay for the property

The individual who offers the highest tender will be allowed to buy the property. If you win the tender, you'll have three business days to make your payment. Only cash, certified cheque, money order, bank draft, irrevocable letter of credit or lawyer’s trust cheque.

2. Complete a Tender From

A Tender Form is the form that must be completed in order to make your tender offer. The tender form can be either downloaded from Tax Sales Hub website or requested from the municipality via email.

3. Get Your Tender Envelope Ready

Your tender must be in a sealed envelope with a description of the property or an address for the land, written clearly enough to know which property you are submitting your tender for.

4. Submit your tender

You can submit your tender in person, mail it, or have a courier deliver it.

Check the deadline for the tender acceptance. If you do not submit your tender on time, it will be rejected.

5. Tender can be withdrawn upon your request

If you decide to cancel your tender, you will need to send your cancellation request to the office of the treasurer of the municipality. You must send this before the final tender submission deadline. You can send this the same way that you sent your tender.

6. Cancellation of sale

The treasurer of the municipality can cancel a tax sale any time before the title change.

Checklist For Submitting a Tender

Before submitting the tender, you should to review and validate your tender using this checklist:

  • Complete the "Tender Form" for the tax sale. We recommend using blue ink.
  • Make sure your Tender Form is for only one property. If you want to submit a bid on several locations, create separate forms.
  • Make sure that your bid is at or above the minimum bid amount.
  • Before submitting your tender, double-check it for accurate and correct information as well as spelling mistakes, because if you don't, it may not be accepted.
  • Submit your tender by envelope. Faxed, emailed or electronically submitted tenders will not be accepted.
  • Make sure that your envelope is completely sealed.
  • Make sure your envelope states that it is sent to the municipality responsible for the tax sale.
  • Specify on the envelope that it is for a tax sale.
  • Ensure that you write the municipality on the envelope clearly and that it is easy to read.
  • Check the deadline for the tender acceptance. Make sure that your envelope is delivered to the municipality before that time.
  • Check the municipality for the submission fee. You will need to pay this fee to cover the preparation and costs associated with the tax deed.

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