Code of the District of Columbia

§ 47–1303.04. Real property tax assignment; sale and transfers.

(a) The District may assign or sell and transfer, for consideration, to a third party, tax liens bid off in the name of the District pursuant to § 47-1301 or tax liens that remain unsatisfied for six months or more. The tax liens may be assigned or sold and transferred in any manner the Mayor deems appropriate, including, but not limited to, individually, in bulk, or to a person who issues debt secured by the tax liens. Such transactions shall not be subject to the provisions of Chapter 3A of Title 2 [§ 2-351.01 et seq.]. The District may make the assignment or conduct a sale and transfer of its tax liens either by public auction, sealed bid, or pursuant to a negotiated contract.

(b) The District’s tax liens may be purchased by any person, including, but not limited to, a trust created and established solely for the purpose of purchasing tax liens from the District, and which issues debt securities secured by the liens. The Mayor is authorized to accept as payment for the assignment or sale and transfer of the tax liens cash, notes, or any combination thereof, or such other consideration as the Mayor deems appropriate. Any bonds, notes, or other obligations issued by any purchaser, assignee, or transferee of the tax liens shall not constitute obligations of the District and shall be without recourse to the District.

(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, whenever the Mayor determines that it is in the District’s best interest, the District may assign or sell and transfer its tax liens to any person, except the delinquent owner of the property subject to the tax lien, or a person related to the owner, in an amount less than the total amount of unpaid taxes, penalties and accrued interest. The execution of a purchase agreement or other agreement by the Mayor shall be conclusive evidence of the adequacy of consideration for the assignment or sale and transfer of the tax liens.

(d) The assignment or sale and transfer of any tax liens and the right to receive amounts in respect thereof as provided by law shall be evidenced by a notarized certificate of the Director of the Department of Finance and Revenue or his or her duly authorized representative, which shall recite the full amount of such lien, including penalties, interest, and costs accrued as of the date of the assignment or sale and transfer of such tax lien, and naming the purchaser of the lien, the record owner, and the square, lot, and street address of the related real property. The certificate of the assignment or sale and transfer shall be recorded in the Office of the Recorder of Deeds.

(e) The transferee of a tax lien and any assignee or successor in interest of such transferee shall have and possess the same rights, powers, lien status, and priority of payment at law or in equity as the District would have possessed if the lien had not been assigned or sold and transferred. The transferee or assignee shall have the same rights to enforce all such tax liens as the District, including the issuance of a deed in fee simple absolute by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

(f)(1) Notice by registered or certified mail must be sent to the record owner and all other lienholders of record by the District at least 30 days in advance of expiration of the redemption period.

(2) Suits to contest the validity of the deed issued pursuant to this section may not be instituted and are forever barred if not filed within 90 days of recordation of the deed in the Office of the Recorder of Deeds.

(3) Both the public notice pursuant to § 47-1301 and the notice of the expiration of the redemption period shall include a statement that suits to contest the validity of the deed must be filed within 90 days of recordation of such deed in the Office of the Recorder of Deeds.

(4) Upon the expiration of the 90-day period from the date of recordation of the deed, the validity of the deed, any other agreements relating thereto, and all proceedings in connection therewith shall be conclusively presumed to have been legally taken and no court shall have the authority to inquire into such matters.

(g) Payments received for delinquent taxes shall be applied first to the penalties, accrued interest, and real property tax in that order related to the longest standing delinquency, and then to the penalties, accrued interest, and real property tax in that order due on the next longest standing delinquency, and subsequent delinquencies.

(h)(1) In an action to foreclose on a tax certificate or certificates, the court may award counsel fees in any in rem or in personam proceeding except for special cause shown by affidavit. If the plaintiff is other than the District, no counsel fees shall be allowed unless, prior to the filing of the complaint, the plaintiff shall have given not more than 120 nor less than 30 days written notice to the interested owners or mortgagees whose interests appear of record, by registered or certified mail with postage prepaid thereon addressed to their last known addresses, of intention to file such complaint. The notice shall also contain the amount due on the tax lien as of the day of the notice. After the complaint has been filed, all redemptions shall be subject to the fixing of fees and costs.

(2) In an action for the foreclosure on a tax certificate, the court or the clerk may, as a matter of discretion, tax as a part of the taxable costs all legal fees and reasonable charges necessarily paid or incurred in procuring searches relative to the title of the subject premises. In tax foreclosure actions brought to foreclose tax sale certificates on more than one parcel, the fees prescribed shall apply to each separate parcel. The court or the clerk may also authorize inclusion of all legal fees and charges necessarily incurred for searches required for unpaid taxes or municipal liens and for searches required to enable the officer making public sale to insert in the notices, advertisements, and conditions of sale, a description of the estate or interest to be sold and the defects in title and liens or encumbrances thereon, as authorized by law.

(3) In an action for the foreclosure on a tax certificate, notwithstanding §§ 47-1312 through 47-1315 or any other law, the court may order the prevailing plaintiff to sell the property at private sale for the fair market value of the property to satisfy the amount of the plaintiff’s lien, fees, and costs, as provided for in this section, including all fees and charges necessarily incurred to sell the property at private sale. Any surplus resulting from the sale shall be paid as provided in § 47-1315.

(i)(1) The assignee, purchaser or transferee of a tax lien may assign or sell and transfer the liens to any person, except to the delinquent owner of the property subject to the lien, or a person related to the owner. The transferee thereof may subsequently transfer and assign the tax lien to any other person, except to the delinquent owner of the property subject to the tax lien, or a person related to the owner.

(2) Any transfer made pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be evidenced by a notarized document executed by the transferor. Such document shall cross-reference the original notarized certificate of assignment or sale and transfer issued by the Department of Finance and Revenue and shall recite the information appearing on such original certificate.

(3) Evidence of any subsequent transfer and assignment shall be recorded in the Office of the Recorder of Deeds.

(j) The assignee, purchaser, or transferee of a tax lien, any successor thereof, shall be subject to applicable tenant protection provisions of § 42-3401.01 et seq. and § 42-3501.01 et seq. or any other applicable District law.

(k) The Mayor may issue rules to implement the provisions of this section.

(l) The powers granted under this section shall be exercised from time to time by that official delegated authority pursuant to § 1-204.24a.

(m) For a period of not more than 6 months following the completion of the transaction, the District shall have the right to substitute a lien of equal value for similar property, where the district has determined that a particular property should be excluded from the tax lien portfolio.


(Feb. 28, 1898, 30 Stat. 250, ch. 32, § 2d; as added Sept. 9, 1996, D.C. Law 11-153, § 3(a), 43 DCR 4380; enacted, Apr. 9, 1997, D.C. Law 11-254, § 2, 44 DCR 1575; June 9, 2001, D.C. Law 13-305, § 504(h), 48 DCR 334; Sept. 26, 2012, D.C. Law 19-171, § 219(a), 59 DCR 6190.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 47-1303.4.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 2-1215.15, § 47-1331, and § 47-1361.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-305 added subsec. (h)(3).

The 2012 amendment by D.C. Law 19-171 substituted “provisions of Chapter 3A of Title 2” for “provisions of § 2-301.01 et seq.” in the third sentence of (a).

Cross References

Business improvement district tax, allocation of proceeds, nondelinquent and delinquent real properties, see § 2-1215.15.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 4(h) of Real Property Tax Clarity and Litter Control Administration Emergency Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-22, March 16, 2001, 48 DCR 2706).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 12(z) of Tax Clarity and Recorder of Deeds Emergency Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-381, June 6, 2002, 49 DCR 5674).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 12(aa) of Tax Clarity and Related Amendments Emergency Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-456, July 23, 2002, 49 DCR 8107).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 12(aa) of Tax Clarity and Related Amendments Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-510, October 23, 2002, 49 DCR 10247).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 4(i) of Real Property Tax Clarity and Litter Control Administration Temporary Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Law 14-8, June 13, 2001, law notification 48 DCR 5916).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 12(aa) of Tax Clarity and Recorder of Deeds Temporary Act of 2002 (D.C. Law 14-191, October 5, 2002, law notification 49 DCR 9549).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 12(aa) of Tax Clarity and Related Amendments Temporary Act of 2003 (D.C. Law 14-228, March 23, 2003, law notification 50 DCR 2741).

References in Text

Pursuant to the Office of the Chief Financial Officer’s “Notice of Public Interest” published in the April 18, 1997, issue of the District of Columbia Register ( 44 DCR 2345) the Office of Tax and Revenue assumed all of the duties and functions previously performed by the Department of Finance and Revenue, as set forth in Commissioner’s Order 69-96, dated March 7, 1969. This action was made effective January 22, 1997, nunc pro tunc.