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Vulnerable woman’s house being sold by City of Penticton sparks changes

Province proposes update to Local Government Act around property sales due to unpaid taxes
This home at 2357 Cornwall Drive was sold by the city in 2017 for $150,000 at auction. It was assessed at $420,000. The BC Ombudsperson filed a report saying the city failed to help a vulnerable person and sold her home over not paying $10,000 property tax. Since then, changes have been made in provincial legislation regarding tax sales. (File)

The provincial government has proposed an update to the Local Government Act to help people potentially facing the sale of their property due to unpaid taxes.

The legislation, which was first introduced in February 2023, set out a requirement for notice to be delivered to the property owner ahead of any tax sale and clarifies the amount a property owner must pay to prevent a property from proceeding to tax sale.

Changes to the Local Government Act and provincial legislation were among the recommendations made by the B.C. Ombudsperson in a scathing 2021 report over the City of Penticton’s sale of a vulnerable woman’s home over $10,000 in unpaid taxes.

Ombudsperson Jay Chalke’s report had found the city made multiple miscommunications with Ms. Wilson, as she was identified in the report, starting after the taxes were deemed delinquent in 2016 leading up to and after the sale of the property in 2017 and the transfer of the property in 2018.

After she was evicted, Ms. Wilson’s property ended up selling for $150,000, well below its assessed value of $420,000, and the City of Penticton ended up paying her $140,000 in restitution.

READ MORE: Penticton pays $140K to vulnerable woman who lost home over unpaid taxes

Members of the council at the time expressed hopes that the report would lead to changes in provincial legislation to improve the process and ensure that a situation like Ms. Wilson’s not occur again.

Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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