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.

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Learn about tax-forfeited property

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 property

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.)
  • 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.)

Once decided, lands are offered for sale by a following method:

  • Sale to a government entity (i.e., Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Public Works, a city, etc.)
  • Public auction (See Current auction and Past auctions sections.)
  • 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.

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

How to apply for repurchase

  1. Contact one of our property managers at our contact number listed on the right.
  2. 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:
  4. 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

November 13, 2018

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

December 11, 2018

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.

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.

Voting rights — You can still vote if your house is in foreclosure. Office of Minnesota Secretary of State


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.

Current auction

There will be no public auction in 2018. We are currently exploring other ways to offer tax-forfeited land. Please check back for updates.

Find results from previous auctions in the Past auctions section of this page.

See the Properties available for immediate sale section of this page for information about properties which did not sell at an auction and can be purchased in our office.

Automatic auction notices!

Subscribe to automatically receive information about upcoming auctions.

General auction information

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

Always review the terms of the current auction. 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


Any individual, corporation, or entity can purchase tax-forfeited land unless you:

  • Have delinquent property taxes in Hennepin County
  • Have had a rental license revoked by the City of Minneapolis or are the subject of a revocation proceeding
  • Are ineligible to obtain a rental license in Minneapolis
  • Have had a contract for purchase of tax-forfeited lands cancelled within the past five years

Registration and earnest money

All eligible parties must register, receive a bidding number 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 payment must:

  • Be made payable to Hennepin County Treasurer
  • Be in your name
  • Be in the amount specified in the terms published in the Auctions section of this page
  • Include "For purchase of tax-forfeited land at public auction" in the memo section

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 - no credit cards or cash
  • Contract for Deed (not all auctions accept Contracts for Deed)

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 - pays for the maintenance, operation and repair of tax-forfeited land on inventory
  • 40% school district
  • 20% city

Learn more

We produced a series of videos that explain the tax-forfeited land auction process in Hennepin County.

Properties available for immediate sale

These are tax-forfeit properties from prior auctions that haven't sold and are for sale in our office. (MS 282.01, subd 7)

Properties currently available

How to purchase

1. Fully review the current terms of sale (PDF).

2. Call 612-348-3734 to:

  • Check the current availability of property
  • Get status of the property, and
  • Make an appointment with the property manager

3. Bring all necessary funds and identification (Driver's license or State ID) to scheduled appointment

Subscribe to automatically receive information about tax-forfeited properties.

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