Future of 259 properties in tax man’s hands

More than 250 properties could be sold to the public online next year as a result of their owners defaulting on taxes, according to the San Luis Obispo County tax collector’s office.

But before bargain-hunters get too excited, they should know that most of the property is vacant land, much of it in the remote California Valley at the county’s eastern extreme.

In addition, the owners of the 259 parcels have until May to pay off their delinquent taxes before the Internet sale begins, and many of them are expected to pay before the sale, according to Art Bacon of the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office.

The county Board of Supervisors will take up the matter Tuesday, in part to authorize the eventual auction, and to allow an expenditure of $24,000 to advertise the sale. The county would get that money back as part of the proceeds.

Bacon said only a handful of the properties that could be sold have structures on them. There are some timeshares at the San Luis Bay Inn at Avila Beach whose owners have defaulted on taxes, he said.

However, he expects those owners to pay before the deadline.

“I have never seen a residence go to sale,” Bacon said. “They’re pretty low-value properties that end up going for sale, usually.”

The county undertakes extensive efforts to find the property owners and inform them about the deadline, Bacon said.

Even so, some of the 259 parcels will end up being auctioned. Their minimum bids range from $1,000 to $44,400.

Property makes the county “for sale” list if owners have failed to pay taxes for longer than five years.

This will be the first such public auction in three years. It is scheduled for May 12 through 15.