End Of The Line

If you’re looking for property on the cheap, judicial sale might be for you.

Advertised in Saturday’s Times Observer, approximately 40 properties around Warren County, including the Roberti Building on Liberty St. once slated to house the Allegheny Center for the Arts, are set to go up for bid at a judicial set for Sept. 29.

Two high profile parcels were part of the Impact Warren area, 301-303 Pennsylvania Ave. and the geothermal site at the base of Liberty St. County Treasurer Dennis Munksgard said the taxes were paid on those parcels Tuesday afternoon to keep them from the sale.

Another, the Roberti Building, is owned by Warren Business District Coalition, which falls under the auspices of the Main Street organization.

“We are sorry for the loss of this important downtown revitalization project, and cause of same, but happy to see the building returning to the tax role,” said Main Street President Dan Ristau.

Munksgard explained in an interview with the Times Observer on Tuesday that judicial sale is the second of three phases by which the county handles properties that are delinquent on taxes.

The first is upset sale. If no bids are received at upset, a parcel moved to judicial, when a previous year of unpaid taxes becomes delinquent.

In advance of the sale, Munksgard explained the office will conduct a title search, find any parties that have a stake in the property and serve notice “that their interest in the property could go away via the judicial sale.”

Properties at judicial sale are “sold clear of liens, mortgages, judgments and taxes,” he explained. “(The) bidding starts at the costs that the Tax Claim Bureau have incurred (in) putting it up for sale up to this point.”

If sold for more than the sale price at the sale, Munksgard said that the overage is applied to delinquent taxes and distributed by law to the taxing bodies.

The owners of properties listed for judicial sale can still take action to avoid their parcel going to the sale. Munksgard said that, to be removed from the list, 2013 taxes, as well as all previous years are required to be paid by July 31. He said that if paid after July 31, 2014 taxes would be required to be paid as well.

The deadline for payment is Sept. 26 at 4 p.m., the Friday before the sale. Munksgard said the office “will not open on the day of the sale” until after the sale, meaning no payment can be accepted that Monday morning.

Of the parcels on the list published on Saturday, Munksgard estimated that 88 percent would make it to the sale.

Should properties sail through judicial without bids, those properties will then enter the county repository, where the Tax Claim Bureau becomes the trustee of the parcel.