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Nearly 800 Properties May Be Up For Auction

Pictured are board members of the Chautauqua County Land Bank Corporation. Photo by Gregory Bacon

As of right now there are nearly 800 properties in Chautauqua County that will be up for auction, unless the owners pay up the necessary back taxes and related fees.

Gina Paradis, county Land Bank executive director, discussed the upcoming auction Wednesday at the monthly meeting of the board. Auctions International will be hosting the auction, which will be held online July 9-22. In order to participate, potential buyers must create an account at auctionsinternational.com and preregister.

“If they don’t complete the full registration, they are not allowed to participate,” she said.

This is the first time the county has had an auction online. Auctions for the last two years were canceled due to COVID-19 and the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures.

Paradis said at last check there were 794 properties on the list. The redemption period ended May 16, however, owners can still keep the properties if they pay off the back taxes, make sure the current year is paid and then pay off the additional fees and taxes.

Paradis will be working with county legislators Jay Gould, R-Ashville, and Bob Scudder, R-Fredonia, to review the list before the properties are available for purchase.

During the meeting, she said not every community will have properties up for sale. The municipalities that should have properties for auction include Dunkirk, Jamestown, Westfield, Busti, Hanover, Sherman and Ellicott.

In the listings, it will state the properties’ code violations and health department notices.

“Part of our reason is not only making sure the buyer is educated, but also, so that we can make it very clear that they can’t come back after purchasing it and say, ‘Oh, I didn’t know about these issues that I have to take care of.’ If they’re there, if they’re in the catalog, then they know the issues exist and they are responsible for those, for compliance,” Paradis said.

She also said that she wishes that people who are losing their properties due to not paying taxes were barred from buying them back.

“Some of these landlords are savvy enough,” she said. “They know all the legal loopholes to get out of losing their properties. … It infuriates me. They’re predators. They’re preying on the people of our communities, to take advantage and be greedy for their own benefit, and not worrying about how the condition of their properties are affecting the neighbors and community members.”

Paradis is also worried about how the sale will go this year, especially for properties that will need a lot of work.

“The cost of renovations right now is so high, that people are not going to be bidding higher prices on auction properties because they don’t know how much they’re going to put into it,” she said. “They’re not going to be looking for properties that need a full rehab. They’re going to be looking for properties that need a cosmetic touch and I don’t think there’s a lot like that.”

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