Analysis of Bulk Tax Lien Sale: City of Rochester

By the Center for Community Progress

In 2009 the City of Rochester, New York began selling delinquent tax liens to a third party purchaser pursuant to a bulk lien sales agreement. In response to an RFP from the City, Community Progress and a team of subconsultants examined the City's current bulk tax lien sale process, and the fiscal and community development impacts of it. This report outlines both the positive and the negative, along with brief descriptions of alternative approaches used in other cities and recommendations on how to improve the system to support neighborhood stability. Community Progress and the rest of the project team determined that alternative delinquent tax enforcement strategies including but not limited to tax lien servicing contracts and the optimization of lien to value could be most cost-efficient for the City. In addition the bulk sale of tax liens left many properties "in limbo" that remain tax delinquent and increase destabilization. 

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