Gavel On Sounding Block

Chester Gap, Sperryville, Flint Hill and Amissville properties to be auctioned in first of two rounds

Time has all but run out for two groups of delinquent taxpayers in Rappahannock County, who granted they are still living will see their properties put up for auction.

“This first round [of auctions] would have happened in April were it not for COVID and the courts being closed, which put off the sale,” J. Daniel Pond III, special counsel with the Pond Law Group in Front Royal, tells this newspaper.

In fact, orders for the public sales were entered by the Circuit Court of Rappahannock County on March 9, 2020 — just when the pandemic began.

Pond, his official title Special Commissioner for the Sale of Real Property for Delinquent Real Estate Taxes, has for the past several years monitored the collection — or lack thereof — of the most severe cases of overdue taxes in Rappahannock County. Now he’s tasked with orchestrating the public sale of the properties in default.

Following this first round of properties to be auctioned off in a month’s time — the exact date will be announced soon, but falling in either late October or early November — a second round of parcels will be sold to the highest bidders.

The initial round involves eight properties that are owned by the most “seriously delinquent” of taxpayers, says the attorney. The tracts are in the vicinity of Chester Gap, Sperryville, Flint Hill and Amissville and range in size from individual lots to several acres. They include:

  • Two lots totaling 5 acres owned by Earl Yates Brown, et al., in the E. M. Eastham subdivision;

  • Under one acre lying on Fodderstack Road, owned by the same Brown party, acquired by Dangerfield Yates in a deed dated April 1, 1881;

  • One lot in a subdivision of land of Cordani General Contracting, LLC, with the listed owner being Ronald L. Brown, et al.;

  • Two lots in Blue Mountain Estates owned by Christine P. Jones, et al.;

  • Two parcels totaling 8.5 acres in the Piedmont District owned by Bailey Majors, et al.;

  • One acre owned by Carroll A. Sular, et al.;

  • One acre in Blue Mountain Estates owned by Amy Webster, et al. 

“The second round potentially will be more interesting tracts,” says the attorney, without elaborating. The tardy taxpayers who own the first eight targeted properties can’t say they haven’t been forewarned.

“Notice of Intent to Sell Real Property for Delinquent Real Estate Taxes,” came one notification sent out two years ago this month by Rappahannock County Treasurer Debra Knick.

For this initial group of “grossly delinquent” taxpayers — their overdue taxes, interest and penalties adding up for two decades or more — the day of reckoning has arrived. 

Look for a legal notice of the pending sales to be published within days in the Rappahannock News, containing the exact location, date and time of the auctions. Terms of sale are cash. A bidder’s deposit of 10 percent by certified funds or cashier’s check is required. 

The properties will be sold “as is,” conveyed by special warranty deed, “free and clear of all liens except 2020 real estate taxes which will be prorated to the date of sale.”

Since becoming the county’s treasurer, Knick has spent considerable time finding ways to collect delinquent taxes, which reached into seven figures.

The county also publicly identified those owing taxes by publishing their names in this newspaper, which “spurred” some to catch up on their outstanding levies, Knick said.

However, even with the added grace period, compliments of the pandemic, there are county landowners who for whatever reasons fail to respond.

Virginia code states that when any taxes on any real estate in a locality are delinquent on December 31 following the second anniversary of the date on which such taxes have become due “may be sold for the purpose of collecting all delinquent taxes on such property.”

Officers who are charged with collecting taxes are required at least 30 days prior to instituting what is a judicial proceeding to send a notice to (1) the last known address of the property owner, (2) the property address if the property address is different from the owner's address, and (3) the last known address of any trustee under any deed of trust, mortgagee or any other lien creditor, advising them of the delinquency and an officer's intention to take action. 

Knick has personally worked with delinquent taxpayers, including offering them payment agreements to permit taxes, interest, and penalties to be satisfied over an allotted period of time.

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