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.
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.