A Township In BC Sold A Man's Property Without Him Knowing & Now It Owes Him $352K

More than double what he paid for it.

Vancouver Editor
The courthouse in B.C. Right: The property in B.C.

The courthouse in B.C. Right: The property in B.C.

A township in B.C. auctioned off a man's land for about a tenth of the price that he paid for it, without giving him proper notice.

The Okanagan township that sold the man's property without his knowledge is now ordered to pay $350,000 to Anthony Brent Morgan.

According to a recent B.C. Supreme Court judgment, Morgan's land was put up for auction in September 2017, by the Township of Spallumcheen. It added that, at the time of the sale, Morgan owed about $6,700 in property taxes on his land and that the lot was vacant.

Although Morgan bought the property for $160,000 in 2010, and its assessed value at the time of the auction was $159,000 — the township sold the property for only $11,300.

The property ownership

Morgan is a carpenter from Armstrong, B.C., who was 57 years old at the time of the trial. He purchased the property because we wanted to move back to North Okanagan after living in Surrey, B.C. for over 20 years.

His goal was to "set up a finishing carpentry business and roots for his then family," the judgement said.

Morgan found the 9.37-acre vacant lot in October 2010 and paid $160,000 to purchase it. In January 2011, he became the registered owner of the property.

After the purchase, Morgan made improvements to the property, in hopes of building a house there when he was financially ready to do so. He also wanted to build a barn and a workshop on the land, for his finishing carpentry business.

In the summer of 2012, Morgan lived on the property with his family, in a trailer. He was required to leave though, due to not having a permit for the trailer or a septic system, said the judgement.

Since then Morgan has lived with his family in Vernon, B.C.

According to the judgement, Morgan struggled financially in the following years, accumulating unpaid property taxes.

The sale of the property

On September 24, 2017, the township sold Morgan's property for $11,300, at the annual municipal tax sale. Despite the unpaid taxes, the judgement said that the township was required to still give proper notice to Morgan of the sale — which it failed to do.

The judgement added that Morgan was not aware of the sale and was not told that he had one year to redeem the property — if he paid what he owed.

It was not until after the redemption period ended that Morgan found out about the sale, according to the judgement.

The judgement said that the township "admitted liability," and the purpose of the trial was to determine how much Morgan should be awarded in damages.

The township said that they should owe Morgan the amount equal to the market value of the property, "as at the date it was conveyed after the Tax Sale," the judgement said.

The judge disagreed and ruled that Morgan was owed the amount that the property was valued at during the trial, minus the money that he owed in taxes.

Now, the township has been ordered by the judge to pay Morgan $352,316.28 — over double what he originally paid for the land.

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