County Tax Auction To Primarily Be Online

For the first time, the Chautauqua County Tax Foreclosure Auction will primarily be online.

During the Chautauqua County Land Bank Corp. meeting Wednesday, Gina Paradis, county land bank executive director, discussed how the tax auction will be online for two weeks in July.

“This will be the first time, as far as I know, that it will be primarily online,” she told The Post-Journal. “(Chautauqua County Real Property Tax Department) has done online auctions following the live (in-person) auction. Usually, the online auctions have been used to sell off properties that didn’t sell during the live auction or perhaps a sale fell through after the live auction.”

Paradis also told the board the redemption date deadline has been set for May 16. She said homeowners can still regain their property up to the day before the auction. She added that reacquiring property after the redemption deadline is more difficult and expensive.

“After the (redemption date) deadline, the county pursues foreclosure judgment,” she said.

Between now and the tax auction, Paradis said she will work with municipalities to identify problem properties that they would like to see either renovated or demolished. She said the process involves coordination between mayors and supervisors, code officers and the auctioneers.

“There will be information shared in regards to code violations to ensure purchasers have access to information on the properties,” she said.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the county has not hosted a tax foreclosure auction since 2019.

In other business, the board discussed the new housing rehabilitation loan fund. Last year, the board finalized an agreement with Home HeadQuarters of Syracuse on a loan fund that will be used to assist homebuyers with purchasing a property.

The land bank’s rehab program works to stabilize neighborhoods by targeting blight and/or declining properties that are negatively impacting neighborhood property values. By acquiring these properties, land bank officials can clean them up, secure them and offer them at below-market value to interested purchasers who will commit to renovating the property to specified levels. The reinvestment rehabilitates the property and helps to reverse the trend of declining property values in the neighborhood.

Paradis said the new program would be a loan fund with Home HeadQuarters, which is a nonprofit organization that is a designated community development financial institution. She said a community development financial institution can operate like a bank for community redevelopment initiatives.

The new loan fund will help people buy a house from the land bank, which normally they wouldn’t be able to do because they don’t have the necessary financial assets to renovate and purchase a property.

“Up until now, land bank houses were generally unmortgageable because they’re unoccupied and, sometimes, don’t have the basic infrastructure to be occupied, so banks won’t consider (a mortgage), which limits access to (land bank properties to) people who have the means in their own personal assets (to rehab and purchase a house),” she said. “This program expands access to someone in a different income group to acquire and rehab a house, which they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do.”

Last year, Paradis said applicants who want a loan will be screened by Home HeadQuarters officials. One of the criteria will be for participants to go through a first-time homebuyer course, which Chautauqua Opportunities and Chautauqua Home Rehabilitation and Improvement Corp. (CHRIC) offer locally.


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