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Tax Lien Certificate Sales

Ohio Revised code sections 5721.30 to 5721.43 permits the Cuyahoga County Treasurer to sell tax lien certificates on parcels that have delinquent taxes.

Since 1998 Cuyahoga County has utilized these code sections to conduct tax lien certificate sales which have resulted in significant increases in the collection of delinquent taxes. The primary beneficiaries of the increased collections have been school districts.

Sale Overview
Taxes that remain unpaid following the Second Half (July) tax collection are advertised, by the Fiscal Office, as delinquent in November and are then eligible for a tax lien certificate sale.  Tax Lien Certificates are offered in bulk, they are not offered on an individual basis.

All payments on delinquent properties set to have liens sold, in the tax lien certificate sale or that have had the certificate sold, must be Certified Funds (e.g., cash, money order, or certified/cashier check).

Taxpayer Information
The Cuyahoga County Treasury is not selling the property, only the delinquent taxes.  The tax lien certificate purchaser pays the County the entire amount of the delinquency.  They then hold the first priority lien.

What happens if your tax lien is sold?
A tax lien certificate is placed on the property.  The lien is recorded with the County Fiscal Office, Transfer and Conveyance Department. 

If the lien is not redeemed within twelve months, the tax lien certificate purchaser may file a foreclosure action. 

Under ORC Section 5721.38, the property owner has the right to enter into a "Redemption Payment Plan" beginning on the date the tax certificate is sold under ORC Section 5721.33 and ending on the date the decree is rendered through foreclosure proceedings (ORC Section 5721.37 (F)).

The property owner may redeem the tax lien certificate anytime prior to confirmation of the Foreclosure Sale in terms of “cash equivalent funds” plus payment of additional charges and costs if applicable.

To avoid the sale of a tax lien certificate on your property, you must pay your taxes in full or enter into a payment plan with the Cuyahoga County Treasury . You may also be responsible for additional fees and costs associated with the tax lien certificate sale.

For information regarding your delinquent taxes and the availability of payment plans, please call our Taxpayer Services Division at 216-443-7420. 

Purchaser Information
The Cuyahoga County Treasury would like to thank you for your interest.  We strongly encourage you to familiarize yourself with the Ohio Revised Code as it pertains to the sale of tax lien certificates (5721.30 – 5721.43).

Tax Lien Certificate sales are offered in bulk, they are not offered on an individual basis. The tax certificate is limited to three years. The average sale in Cuyahoga County ranges from 10 million to 17 million dollars and contains several thousand parcels.

The Ohio Revised Code allows Counties to negotiate the terms of any Tax Certificate Sale with the third party purchasers.  Cuyahoga County only utilizes the negotiated method of sale. For a copy of our 2016 purchase agreement, click here.

The Cuyahoga County Treasury has full discretion to select and remove certified delinquent parcels from the Tax Certificate Sale.  The Treasurer may bundle the parcels in any manner deemed necessary.

Cuyahoga County cannot guarantee that all parcels are free of legal restrictions to initiate Foreclosure.  The purchaser is required to resolve all legal restrictions in order to proceed with statutory foreclosure filing.

The Cuyahoga County Treasury may adopt rules governing the eligibility of persons to purchase tax certificates, such as a disclosure of income. The rules prohibit any person that is delinquent in the payment of any tax to the county or affiliated with any person that is delinquent in the payment of any tax to the county from purchasing a tax certificate.

A bidder registration form shall be submitted prior to sale.  This form shall include the name, address, EIN, and contact information for any interested purchaser.

If you have any questions, please contact the Tax Delinquency Response Unit at (216) 443-7420.