Tax-Acquired Property Information
In Maine it is not possible to acquire property by just paying the back taxes. The State of Maine has a set procedure for the collection of taxes, the placing of liens, and the foreclosure of tax liens by a municipality. Anyone may pay the taxes on a piece of property for someone else, but that will not gain them title to the property. It takes 18 months after the tax lien has been placed on the property for a municipality to legally foreclose.
In the City of Belfast we have a municipal ordinance that dictates how property acquired through the tax lien process can be disposed of. When tax foreclosures take place, the treasurer then takes the list of foreclosed properties to the City Council. The City Council will decided if they want to sell the property or to keep it for future municipal use.
If the council decides to sell the property, they will advertise the property in local newspapers for sale by sealed bids. The council will have the right to accept or reject any or all bids on these parcels. If the City Council sells the property we do so with a municipal quitclaim deed. This is not a warrantee deed and does not guarantee clear title or that there are no other claims or liens on that property.
It is then up to the purchaser to take the steps to have the title researched and a warrantee deed issued. It is recommended to everyone interested in tax-acquired properties to speak to an attorney prior to placing a bid. Be aware of the advantages and disadvantages to purchasing municipal tax acquired properties.
The City of Belfast follows state law and our own municipal ordinance regulating the sale and disposal of all tax acquired property.