SANDOWN – The board of selectmen has historically refrained from deeding properties for back taxes, and with the latest round of unpaid properties, the board again decided to give extensions. Tax collector Michelle Short presented five properties with unpaid 2010 taxes to the board at its July 29 meeting. While there are seven properties that haven’t paid for 2010, two of those property owners had already been granted extensions by the selectmen by meeting with them or sending a letter.
The selectmen decided to let Short send out another letter to the other five property owners, giving them 30 days to pay or contact the town. Short explained that certified letters had already gone out to all owners. Two of the owners are deceased and their next of kin have not been responding, said Short.
Usually the board works to avoid having to take properties, because, as chair Tom Tombarello said Monday, the town doesn’t want to get into the real estate business. Tombarello noted, however, that from communication with surrounding towns it seemed that most other communities were less hesitant to take over properties.
The town has tax liens on the properties in question and Short explained that the town can leave them in place; they will eventually be paid when the property sells.
If the town does deed a property, to get it back the owner must pay all taxes owed from the first unpaid bill until the first payment on the new tax bill, plus a 10 percent penalty and any attendant attorney fees. Once the town owns the property, it is bound by state law governing the tenant-landlord relationship. A written tenancy agreement must be executed by both parties or eviction proceedings must be started.