Rockland acquires three homes for non-payment of taxes

By Stephen Betts | Mar 20, 2017
Photo by: Stephen Betts This home on 10 Lovejoy St. in Rockland was acquired by the city last week when a property tax lien expired without the back taxes being paid.

Rockland — The city acquired three homes last week through the annual automatic foreclosure process when the owners failed to pay property taxes that were nearly three years overdue.

The city will first try to arrange for a way for the former owners to recover the properties. If that is not successful, city government could decide to solicit bids for the properties.

In addition to the three houses on lots, the city also acquired two parcels of land, and one mobile home.

In each case, the city had placed liens on the properties in September 2015 for taxes that were levied in August 2014.

The houses foreclosed on were 42 Lake View Drive, 10 Lovejoy St., and 58 North Main St.

The Lake View Drive ranch is assessed by the city at $128,000. The foreclosure occurred on liens of $2,497 for 2014 taxes. There was also a lien of $2,497 for 2015 taxes that had not been paid and 2016 taxes had also not been paid.

The 1,237-square-foot house was built in 1955 and had been owned by Carl Blackington since 1966. The house is located on 0.86 acres.

The home is vacant, according to the city.

The 10 Lovejoy St. home is assessed by the city at $97,600. The foreclosure occurred on a lien of $1,967 for 2014 taxes. There was also a lien of $2,069 for 2015 taxes. The 2016 taxes had also not been paid.

The 2,144-square-foot Colonial-style house was built in 1952 and was bought by Leon Bryant Jr. in 1959. Bryant died in December 2011 and the property was then owned by his heirs. The house is located on 0.85 acres.

That house is also vacant.

The third home is at 58 North Main St., and is assessed by the city at $109,200. The foreclosure occurred on a lien of $1,878 for 2014 taxes. There was also a lien of $1,975 for 2015 taxes. The 2016 taxes had also not been paid.

The 1,076-square-foot single-family home was built in 1973 and was owned by Ellen Whitehouse. The house is located on 0.13 acres.

One vacant parcel foreclosed on the city is 30 acres located in the Bog owned since 1978 by Richard Swan of East Bridgewater, Mass., and the second is 1.2 acres of vacant land owned by the heirs of Conrad Winchenbaugh Sr.

The city has sent repeated notices to each property owner prior to the foreclosures.

Before the city returns properties to prior owners, all back taxes must be paid, along with costs incurred by the city. If there are code violations, those must be repaired before the transfer back to the former owner.

State law makes foreclosure on houses automatic 18 months after liens are placed on properties for unpaid taxes. Municipalities can vote to waive foreclosure, as the Rockland City Council did earlier this month on a house and property at 298 Broadway owned by the estate of William Dean.

Dean died in October. Dean, and now his estate, have been suing the Maine Department of Health and Human Services over its handling of his properties while he was in the care of the state.

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