A tax sale occurs when the City of Cambridge sells a property for unpaid taxes. Tax sales are done in accordance with the Ontario Municipal Act.   

Before moving forward with a tax sale, the property owner receives a Tax Sale Pending letter letting them know that their property is eligible for tax sale at the end of the year. The letter provides a deadline for the property owner to contact the Tax Office to discuss a payment schedule to prevent the sale.

If the property owner does not contact the City by the deadline, the tax sale process begins January 1 of the following year.

FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about tax sales.

Why does the City of Cambridge make tax sales?
According to provincial legislation, a municipality may recover unpaid property taxes through the sale of the property. For a property to be eligible for tax sale, there must be two years plus any part of a third year overdue for improved land and two years of overdue taxes  for vacant land.
When does the tax sale process begin?

The tax sale process begins if the property owner doesn't contact the City of Cambridge by the deadline included in the Tax Sale Pending letter. This letter is sent after the final instalment of the third year of tax payments is overdue.

The process begins with the issuance of a Farm Debt Notice to the property owner(s) and provides 30 days to contact the City for payment options.  If the owner doesn't contact the City by the end of those 30 days, a Tax Arrears Certificate is registered at the land registry office.

Who is notified that a Tax Arrears Certificate has been registered to the property?
The City mails First Notices of the Tax Arrears Certificate to:
  • Property owner(s)
  • A mortgage holder
  • Anyone with a registered court judgment against the tax payer 

The First Notice provides the Tax Arrears Certificate registration date and deadline to pay the cancellation price, which is a one-year period from the date of registration. If the cancellation price is not paid before the expiry of the one-year redemption period, the City sells these properties through public auction or by public tender. The City publishes advertisements in the local newspapers for four weeks and in the Ontario Gazette for one week.

How long does the owner have to pay the taxes owed to avoid the sale?
The owner can pay the cancellation price at any time up to the point at which the property is either transferred to the successful tenderer or vested to the City of Cambridge due to a failed tax sale.
What is the cancellation price?
The cancellation price is the amount equal to all overdue tax payments owing at any time in respect of land together with all current real property taxes owing, interest, penalties thereon, other land-related costs (such as unpaid water or sewer charges) and all reasonable costs incurred by the City of Cambridge after the Treasurer becomes entitled to register a Tax Arrears Certificate under section 371 of the Ontario Municipal Act.
How does the City of Cambridge sell these properties?

Tax sale properties can be sold either by public auction or by public tender.  Tax sales are not typical real estate transactions and there are risks associated with this type of transaction.  The City of Cambridge is only interested in recovering unpaid taxes and is not obligated to obtain fair market value. 

Properties are sold as is. The Municipality does not make any representation as to the condition or size of the property. The purchaser is responsible for the removal of any debris, junk, etc. left at the property and any associated expense. The Municipality does not guarantee vacant possession. Before you consider participating in a tax sale, we recommend that you seek advice from a lawyer licensed to practice in Ontario and conduct thorough research before submitting a tender.

Who is the legal owner of the property during the tax sale process?

Legal title does not change until a successful purchase occurs or the property becomes vested (if there are no eligible bids received and only if the City of Cambridge decides to take the property into its possession).

Purchasing a tax sale property

When you participate in a tax sale and successfully bid on a tax sale property, you must complete a Tender to Purchase (Tax Sale Form 7). The Purchasing Division of the City of Cambridge provides necessary information to complete the form. You also need to submit a deposit, which is forfeited if you don't complete the tax sale transaction within 14 days of being notified that you're the successful bidder.

Before you consider participating in a tax sale, we recommend that you seek advice from a lawyer licensed to practice in Ontario and conduct thorough research before submitting a tender.

Properties Currently Available for Sale by Public Tender

TAKE NOTICE that tenders are not currently invited for any properties in the City of Cambridge.

Please confirm availability before preparing a tender submission.