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Public Auctions and Bidder Information

Information about buying tax-defaulted land in a public auction.

Tax-Defaulted Land Sales

Information for Bidders - What you should know before buying!

Background:

Property becomes tax-defaulted land if property taxes remain unpaid at 12:01 a.m. on July 1st.  Property that is tax-defaulted after five years (or three years in the case of property also subject to a nuisance abatement lien) becomes subject to the county tax collector’s power to sell that property in order to satisfy the defaulted property taxes. The county tax collector must attempt to sell the property within four years of becoming subject to sale.

The county tax collector may offer the property for sale at public auction, a sealed bid sale, or a negotiated sale to a public agency or qualified nonprofit organization.

Public auctions are the most common way of selling tax-defaulted property.  The auction is conducted by the county tax collector, and the property is sold to the highest bidder.

Public Auctions:

Pursuant to California Revenue and Taxation Code section 3700.5, the county tax collectors are required to notify the State Controller's Office "not less than 45 days nor more than 120 days before the proposed sale."  Additionally, section 3702 RTC requires the tax collector to publish the intended sale.

For more information regarding a specific county’s public auction sale, please view the county tax collector's website for the most accurate and up to date information, or contact the county tax collector's office directly.  Below is a link to each county's treasurer and tax collector website which contains county services and contact information.