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  #1  
Old 08 August 2017, 04:34 AM
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Read This! Rich SF residents get a shock: Someone bought their street

Quote:
Thanks to a little-noticed auction sale, a South Bay couple are the proud owners of one of the most exclusive streets in San Francisco — and they’re looking for ways to make their purchase pay.

Tina Lam and Michael Cheng snatched up Presidio Terrace — the block-long, private oval street lined by 35 megamillion-dollar mansions — for $90,000 and change in a city-run auction stemming from an unpaid tax bill. They outlasted several other bidders.
http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/m...t-11738236.php
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  #2  
Old 08 August 2017, 12:13 PM
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Read This!

It's the little things that get you... I do like the idea of a homeowners association that can't seem to complete basic tasks like not lose control of the commons and wealthy/cloistered residents crying foul at "unfair" business practices being used to take advantage of them. It's almost like a classic 99%/1% battle, only with the roles inverted. After all...
Quote:
“Ninety-nine percent of property owners in San Francisco know what they need to do, and they pay their taxes on time — and they keep their mailing address up to date,” said spokeswoman Amanda Fried.
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  #3  
Old 08 August 2017, 01:21 PM
katdixo katdixo is offline
 
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It does seem ridiculous, though, that the city would keep sending tax bills to the same defunct address for decades and never try any other means of contacting the owners.
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  #4  
Old 08 August 2017, 03:31 PM
dfresh dfresh is offline
 
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From my reading, it wasn't a defunct address, it was the official mailing address that the property owners had said to mail things to. The person there just didn't work for them anymore, and didn't forward their mail. The onus would be on them to update the mailing address with the tax board, or to realize that they hadn't paid a tax bill in years.
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Old 08 August 2017, 03:36 PM
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It's weird that it happened two years ago, and the buyers are only saying so now. I wonder if they were waiting for some sort of time frame to run out. Presumably in the meantime the homeowners have been taking care of the streets, watering the islands, etc, not knowing it no longer belonged to them.

The whole thing is weird, and I wouldn't personally want my photo splashed on the news if I were involved. "Hi! Here's a face for your fury. I'm extorting residents for gain, and proud of it!"
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  #6  
Old 08 August 2017, 03:47 PM
jimmy101_again jimmy101_again is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Pink Pill View Post
"Hi! Here's a face for your fury. I'm extorting residents for gain, and proud of it!"
It is not like the people that own those multi-million dollar houses have never earned money from someone else. I have a hard time worrying about the financial impact on the home owners.
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  #7  
Old 08 August 2017, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by dfresh View Post
From my reading, it wasn't a defunct address, it was the official mailing address that the property owners had said to mail things to. The person there just didn't work for them anymore, and didn't forward their mail. The onus would be on them to update the mailing address with the tax board, or to realize that they hadn't paid a tax bill in years.
Yeah, it sounds like decades ago the homeowners association told the city to send the tax bill to their accountant, which would be a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Except at some point they started using a different accountant, and they never told the city to start sending the bills to the new one. The city kept sending the bills to the old accountant because they had no way of knowing he wasn't their accountant anymore. They kept getting delivered because it was still a valid address and presumably the old accountant was still at that address. He may not have been able to forward them because he may not have known who their new accountant was. I don't know if he would have had any responsibility to inform the city that he wasn't their accountant anymore. I suppose he could have sent the bill to the homeowners association and told them to take care of it, which they obviously didn't.
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  #8  
Old 08 August 2017, 03:57 PM
katdixo katdixo is offline
 
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I still think it's ridiculous for the city not to try other means of contacting the owners. I would think at a minimum, they would send a certified letter before selling off the property.
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  #9  
Old 08 August 2017, 03:59 PM
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How would a certified letter have helped? If the PO can't deliver a certified letter, they return it. They don't go seek out the correct address.

ETA: Property owners are responsible for paying the taxes on their property. If you're not getting a bill, the onus is on you to find out why.
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Old 08 August 2017, 04:13 PM
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...is the sort of thing one would say to and expect of a working- or middle-class family living in a (possibly rundown) home along a (possibly pock-marked) city-owned/maintained street with all kinds of thru-traffic, working (maybe two jobs) to pay the mortgage and keep their kids fed (perhaps w/ government assistance).

These are wealthy people who had no idea they owned the property collectively as part of the homeowners association. How were they to know that the street they'd fenced off and placed a security guard on was their property that they have to pay taxes on!? It's so unfair that the city and this (probably also wealthy) real estate agent colluded to take advantage of these poor unsuspecting rich people. It just goes to show how the world has gone to hell overnight. Ever since the federal government started letting minorities own property that was meant for whites only, people just don't treat each other right anymore.

Signs and wonders...
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  #11  
Old 08 August 2017, 04:40 PM
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It does seem like before, say, a house is sold at a tax sale, there are notices posted on the actual house, not just mail sent to the address the owners have provided. Right? Did the city ever post notices at the actual property?

I have no sympathy, but there are reasons for those kind of procedures, and if it applies to houses but not other property, that would seem strange to me. I suppose it might be more difficult to figure out where to post it exactly, but that would be a flimsy reason for not doing it at all.
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  #12  
Old 08 August 2017, 04:42 PM
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IDK about notices posted on the property; I've seen noticed posted in the newspaper.

ETA: Which, of course, is an increasingly poor way to get the information out.
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Old 08 August 2017, 04:53 PM
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As someone who works in taxes, (but only indirectly with municipal ones) I can vouch that most tax laws put the onus on the taxpayer to provide a valid address. In other words, if the government sent out a tax notice to a valid address on file and that the mail was not returned, that notice counts as valid. It is up to the homeowner's association to prove that they did proper due diligence in ensuring that the department taxing them had the proper address on file.

"I didn't get my notices" is never considered a valid excuse for not filing/paying your taxes because *everyone* knows they are supposed to pay taxes at the same time every year.

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Old 08 August 2017, 05:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erwins View Post
It does seem like before, say, a house is sold at a tax sale, there are notices posted on the actual house, not just mail sent to the address the owners have provided. Right? Did the city ever post notices at the actual property?

I have no sympathy, but there are reasons for those kind of procedures, and if it applies to houses but not other property, that would seem strange to me. I suppose it might be more difficult to figure out where to post it exactly, but that would be a flimsy reason for not doing it at all.
I suppose they could posted a notice on the guard's shack or on the gate. Being a gated neighborhood I'm not sure if a city employee would have even been allowed in to post notices anywhere else.
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  #15  
Old 08 August 2017, 06:57 PM
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Maybe posting at the property doesn't apply to tax sales. It seems like it should. I am, in no way saying they have a good excuse.

I was, I guess, thinking of ordinary foreclosure requirements? Of course they have an obligation to pay taxes and keep the city informed of their correct mailing address, just like anyone else.

I also think that, if this were a deadbeat landlord, and a bunch of poor tenants were being evicted after not having any way of knowing that the property where they lived was going to be sold because of a less than $1,000 tax arrearage, I would think that interested parties would benefit from actual notice that something like that was happening. It is not the same situation, but it is a good reason to require that kind of notice.
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  #16  
Old 08 August 2017, 07:00 PM
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The same way that this happened was how a whole lot of people lost homes during the recession. There were definitely stories about retirees being forced from their homes after someone bought them out because they missed a tax payment of a few hundred dollars.
While I understand, and share, the feeling of schadenfreude over this, there is no way that it makes up for the people who have suffered because of this type of tax sale.
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  #17  
Old 08 August 2017, 07:04 PM
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The OP story is not about missing "a" tax payment, though. The taxes weren't paid for three decades.

ETA: And even absent that, I think I'd feel worse about a senior citizen losing their home because they were too broke to make a tax payment, vs. a bunch of very affluent people losing control over their private street -- which I'm guessing is not anyone's home. No one's facing homelessness in this situation.
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  #18  
Old 08 August 2017, 07:19 PM
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Is it just the gate that eliminates sympathy or is it the combination of the gates and the assumed income of the residents that eliminates any sympathy for people that trusted an entity to do something and may get hosed because that entity didn't? If so, what income level does that happen at?
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  #19  
Old 08 August 2017, 07:25 PM
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I think it's a little complicated by it being an HOA. The entity is made up of, and controlled by, the people themselves, isn't it?

My lack of sympathy is the same as it would be for an individual who did the same thing: had their $14/year sweetheart tax bill sent to an accountant, change accountant, never pay tax bill again for 30 years, cry foul at negative consequences. I do think a reasonable attempt at actual notice should be made, though.
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  #20  
Old 08 August 2017, 07:42 PM
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Controlled by the homeowners like Congress is controlled by the voters. Elected to represent since the constituents probably have neither the time nor the knowledge to do it themselves.

For those snopesters who live in an HOA community, have you confirmed that the tax, water, power, sewer, etc bills are all being paid correctly?
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