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657 Owners Must Be Given Notice Of Tax Sale And Redemption Period

In This Volume

657 (1) Not later than 3 months after the sale of property at an annual tax sale, the collector must give written notice of the sale and of the day the redemption period ends, either by serving the notice or by sending it by registered mail, to persons registered in the land title office as

  • (a) owner of the fee simple of the property, or
  • (b) owner of a charge on the property.
  • (2) On application, the Supreme Court may order that the notice under subsection (1) may be served by substituted service in accordance with the order.
  • (3) No liability or responsibility other than as set out in subsection (1) rests with the collector or municipality to give notice of the sale for taxes.

R.S.B.C. 2015-1-657, effective January 1, 2016 (B.C. Reg. 257/2015).


Two properties up for tax sale because of unpaid delinquent taxes were purchased by the petitioner City. Despite multiple attempts, the City failed to deliver written notice to the registered owners of the properties in accordance with s. 657 of the Local Government Act. The City’s subsequent attempts to contact the registered owners after the s. 657 three-month period, and after expiry of the redemption period, were not productive. The City also failed to forward certificates of redemption to the Registrar of Land Titles under s. 663(1) as it usually does if a property is not redeemed within the redemption period. The City now sought to invalidate the sale of the two properties. Held, petition granted. The failure to deliver written notice in accordance with s. 657 (by personal service, registered mail, or pursuant to a substituted service order) constituted a failure to fulfill an essential procedural requirement necessary for a lawful transfer of title under the LGA. The next step for the City under the LGA was to forward certificates of non-redemption. The City, however, lacked the authority to do so because of its non-compliance with the s. 657 notice requirements. The City also had an interest in avoiding taking titles that were potentially open to challenge at the instance of former registered owners (Re Maple Ridge, 2020 BCSC 1473 (Chambers)).