A letter to Mayor Nutter: Postpone the December Tax Lien Sale

On December 12, we joined with leaders of several organizations in sending a letter to Mayor Michael Nutter to once again request that the City of Philadelphia postpone a tax lien auction.

A tax lien is a legal claim against a property for unpaid real estate taxes or other fees. A lien goes into effect on a property on January 1st the year after payment was due.

This is the second letter that has been sent to the Nutter Administration requesting that the auction be postponed. The first letter was sent on June 11th addressing concerns regarding the auctions impact on neighborhood revitalization. The letter also urged the city to recognize that the best means of settling these delinquent accounts is to make them available property owners who can handle their tax liability and put the properties back into productive use.

This letter requests the postponement of the December 16-18 sale, and it focuses on addressing the criteria for which properties should be removed from the lien sale. Specifically:

  1. Properties that are adjacent to properties already in the public inventory and should be targets of acquisition by the Philadelphia Land Bank.
  2. Properties that are vacant, and for which their tax balances may be uncollectable by the lien holder.
  3. Properties that are under active consideration for acquisition by the Land Bank
  4. Properties whose tax liens were sold in the 1997 tax lien sale conducted by the Rendell Administration, and whose tax balance remains uncollected.
  5. Properties that are being considered for action under Act 135, also known as the Conservatorship Act.

The letter acknowledges that the Tax Lien Sale is a way to find revenue to fund the school district, however it reiterates that the most effective way to find long-term sources of tax revenue is to get vacant properties back into productive re-use and into the hands of responsible property owners that can handle their tax liability.

Click here to read a copy of the letter.