Tax-forfeited land

When land is forfeited, no taxes are collected. The tax-forfeited land program is intended to make this state-owned land productive, taxable property again. The county administers this process for the state.

Spring 2014 auction

A Friday, May 2 auction took place. See the Auctions section below for results and additional specifics.

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How land becomes tax-forfeited

Tax-forfeited land is the result of unpaid property taxes. The process from delinquent taxes to forfeiture is:

  1. Taxes become delinquent as of January the year following when the taxes were due.
  2. Notification to the taxpayer of record is given.
  3. District Court enters judgment against the property. (Unpaid taxes are a lien against the property, not a personal debt of the owner.)
  4. Judgment is entered as of April in the delinquent year.
  5. “Period of redemption” begins — depending on ownership, use and location of the property, the period of redemption is one, three or five years from judgment. Based on 2013 Legislation eliminating the five-year redemption period, new tax judgment sales in 2014 and subsequent years will have either a one or three year period of redemption. (During this period, the owner, or anyone else having interests in the property, can pay the delinquent taxes and forfeiture will not occur.)
  6. If the property taxes remain unpaid after the statutory “expiration of redemption period”, the land forfeits to the State of Minnesota. The county is then responsible for management of the Tax-Forfeited Land Program.

What happens to tax-forfeited land

After land is forfeited:

  • All taxes and special assessments prior to the forfeiture date are canceled.
  • For a period of time a previous owner can go through the repurchase process. (see Repurchase process section of this page.)
  • Then a classification process takes place to determine whether the land will remain in public ownership and be managed for public benefit, or if it will be returned to private ownership via a public auction. (See Classification process section of the page.)

Once decided, lands are offered for sale by:

  • Sale to a government entity (i.e., Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Public Works, a city, etc.)
  • Public auction (See Auction information and Auctions sections of this page.)
  • Adjacent owner auction
  • Over the counter — some properties not sold at auction may become available for purchase in our office

Repurchase process

It is possible for home owners to repurchase tax-forfeited land. For a limited amount of time after the date of forfeiture, Minnesota statute (MS 282.241) allows home owners or others with title rights to repurchase the land.

The person seeking to repurchase will have to pay all taxes, assessments, and maintenance costs incurred by the county during the time the land was forfeited.

How to apply for repurchase

  1. Contact one of our property managers at our contact number listed on the right.
  2. Be prepared to obtain a cashier’s check, money order or certified check for the required down payment (amount will be calculated by your property manager and will include a non-refundable application fee).
  3. Have copies of the following:
    • Proof of ownership or assigned interest
    • Proof of insurance (listing Hennepin County Tax-Forfeited Land as loss payees) of any structure(s) equal to the buildings current tax market value amount

Upcoming hearings on notices of application of repurchase

August 12, 2014

Additional information

  • Private parties are not allowed to purchase land unless they were listed on the title at some point

Classification process

The purpose of this statutory meeting is to classify or reclassify state-owned tax-forfeited lands as conservation or non-conservation, as outlined in Minnesota Statute 282.01. Classification also includes current and potential use of the land.

How to participate in the classification process

At the classification meeting or in writing prior to it, any person, governmental entity (or representative) or agency possessing pertinent information concerning a tax-forfeited land on the current list may:

  • Make or submit comments and recommendations about the pending classification or reclassification
  • Describe plans, ideas, or projects that may involve use or acquisition of the lands on the list, by that or another governmental entity
  • Provide information about relevant components of current municipal or metropolitan comprehensive land use plans that incorporate the area in which the lands are located

Current classification notices

October 7, 2014

Auction information

Hennepin County Taxpayer Services normally hosts one or two land auctions each year.

How much does auctioned land cost?

After the classification process, an appraised value is set for the land. The appraised value/minimum bid prices for land listed are in the auctions section below.

In addition to the purchase cost, a city can reapply prior year canceled special assessments to the taxes of purchased land. Check with the appropriate city before bidding, for possible:

  • Special assessments
  • Various (code, inspection) fees

Terms of sale

Review the terms of the current auction in the auctions section below. Terms may change each auction.

All sales of auctioned lands are:

  • Final — no refunds or exchanges
  • Not guaranteed by the county
  • Sold "as-is" (in current condition) and may not conform to local building and zoning ordinances. Check with a real estate agent and with the appropriate city before bidding, for things such as, but not limited to:
    • Inspections
    • Special assessments since forfeiture date
    • Renter history

Auction participation

Registration and earnest money

Anyone (individuals, corporations, entities, etc.) may purchase land.

  • You must register and provide earnest money in the form of a cashier's check, money order or certified check from your bank. No credits cards or cash accepted. Earnest money must:
    • Be made payable to Hennepin County Treasurer
    • Payment must be in your name
    • Be in the amount specified in the terms published on the current auctions page
    • Include "For purchase of tax-forfeited land at public auction"  in the memo section
  • When you register, you will receive a bidding number

If you win a bid

You can apply your earnest money to the purchase cost. To complete payment, you must provide:

  • Money order or certified check from your bank
  • Contract for Deed (not all auctions accept Contracts for Deed)
  • No credit cards or cash

If you do not win a bid

Your earnest money will be returned to you when you return your bidding number.

If you win a bid, but change your mind

Earnest money will not be returned.

What does the county do with sale proceeds?

The net revenue is distributed annually to the local taxing districts on the following percentage basis:

  • 40% county
  • 40% school district
  • 20% city

The county’s portion pays for the maintenance, operation and repair of tax-forfeited land on inventory.

Additional information

  • See auction results and sale prices in the Auctions section of this page.
  • Land not sold at auction may be offered for sale the day after the auction.
  • Subscribe to automatically receive information regarding land auctions.

The difference between tax-forfeited land and mortgage foreclosure

Mortgage foreclosure occurs when a property owner fails to make their mortgage payments to their bank or lender. It is a process between the owner and the lender.

What is the difference between tax-forfeited land and mortgage foreclosure?

People often confuse the two processes. Tax-forfeiture occurs when an owner can’t pay their property taxes. It is a process between the owner and the county. Tax forfeiture usually lags behind foreclosure by several years — in part, because the tax-forfeiture process takes much longer.

The reasons for foreclosure and tax-forfeiture are often the same — owners fall into financial trouble because of job loss, a sudden and expensive medical crisis, unexpected property expenses, and other reasons. Sometimes these two processes are occurring at the same time.

Workshop

Free mortgage foreclosure information workshops are held for homeowners who are worried about making upcoming mortgage payments, are already behind on payments, or just want to learn more about foreclosure; and for renters whose landlords may be facing foreclosure. Participants can ask questions and get free, confidential advice from foreclosure counselors.

  • There are currently no workshops scheduled

Watch a foreclosure prevention workshop video

Maps and statistics

Download or purchase detailed foreclosure maps.

Additional information

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