Code of the District of Columbia

§ 47–1304. Real property tax assignment; sale and transfers — Deposit required; certificate of sale; tax deed; redemption.

(a) The Collector of Taxes shall require from every purchaser of property sold as aforesaid a deposit sufficient, in his judgment, to guarantee a full and final settlement for such purchase. Every purchaser other than the District of Columbia at any sale of property as aforesaid shall pay the full amount of his bid, including surplus, if any, to the Collector of Taxes within 5 business days after the last day of sale, and in case such payment is not made within the time specified the deposit of the person so failing to make payment shall be forfeited to the District of Columbia, and said Collector of Taxes shall then issue the certificate of sale for such property to the next highest bidder, and if payment of the amount of the bid of said next highest bidder be not made within 2 business days thereafter, the Mayor of the District of Columbia shall set aside both sales for which the bids were made; and the said Collector of Taxes shall thereupon be held to have bid the amount due on the said lot and to have purchased it for the District. Immediately after the close of the sale, upon payment of the purchase money, the said Collector of Taxes shall issue to the purchaser a certificate of sale, and if the property shall not be redeemed by the owner or owners thereof within 6 months from the last day of sale, by payment to the Collector of Taxes of said District, for the use of the legal holder of the certificate, the amount for which it was sold at such sale, exclusive of surplus, and with interest on the amount at the rate of 1.5% for each month (or part thereof) after the date of the certificate of sale, a deed shall be given by the Mayor, after notice satisfying the requirements of due process, to the purchaser at such tax sale, his heirs or devisees, or to the assignee of such certificates, which deed shall be admitted and held to be prima facie evidence of a good and perfect title in fee simple to any property bought at said sale herein authorized; provided, that no deed shall be issued unless application therefor be made within one year from the last day of sale, and if no deed be given as yet by the Mayor then the owner of property sold, or any other person having an interest therein at the time of redemption, may redeem the property by paying to the Collector of Taxes for the legal holder of the certificate the amount for which it was sold at such sale, exclusive of surplus, plus interest thereon at the rate hereinbefore prescribed; that when the said property is redeemed as aforesaid, the Collector of Taxes shall, within 5 business days thereafter notify the owner of record of such tax sale certificate at his last-known address, by registered mail or by certified mail, of the redemption of such certificate; that within one year from the last day of the sale, the owner thereof may apply for, and, upon the surrender of the certificate, shall receive from the District of Columbia the payment made as hereinbefore prescribed; that upon the failure of the owner of such tax sale certificate to apply within the period of one year, as hereinbefore prescribed, or, in the case where a property is not redeemed, to pay all taxes and assessments, within 30 days from the date the Mayor sends a letter for payment to the owner of the tax sale certificate or within any extension beyond the 30 days as granted at the discretion of the Mayor, required to be paid before a deed shall be issued, money otherwise owing to the owner of the tax sale certificate or paid by the owner of the tax sale certificate shall be forfeited to the District of Columbia, and be deposited by the Collector of Taxes in the Treasury of the United States to the credit of the general revenues of the District of Columbia; provided, that no deed shall be issued until all taxes and assessments appearing upon the tax books against the property are paid, with penalties, interests, and costs, including taxes for the years for which the District purchased the property at tax sale; provided, that no property advertised as aforesaid shall be sold upon any bid not sufficient to meet the amount of tax, penalty, and costs; but in case the highest bid on any property is not sufficient to meet the taxes, penalties, and costs thereon said property shall thereupon be bid off by the said Collector of Taxes, in the name of the District of Columbia; but the property so bid off shall not be exempted from assessment and taxation, but shall be assessed and taxed as other property; and if within 6 months thereafter such property is not redeemed by the owner or owners thereof, or their legal representatives, by the payment of the taxes, penalties and costs due at the time of the sale and that may have accrued after that date, and 1 1/2% thereon for each month or part thereof, or if any property 6 months after having been so bid off at any sale in the name of said District under §§  47-1301 to 47-1310 or any other law in force is not or has not been so redeemed as aforesaid (unless it shall be shown that the sale for taxes was irregular and void), then the Mayor of the District, or his successors, shall in the name of and on behalf of the District of Columbia, sell the property at public or private sale for the amount of the oldest lien owing to the District and issue to a purchaser of the property, after notice satisfying the requirements of due process and the property not redeemed within 30 days therefrom, a deed, which shall have the same force and effect as the deed provided in this section for property sold at the regular annual sale; provided, that unless the purchaser of the property shall pay all other taxes and assessments, within 30 days from the date that the Mayor sends a letter for payment to the purchaser or within any extension beyond the 30 days as granted at the discretion of the Mayor, required to be paid before a deed shall be issued, money paid by the purchaser shall be forfeited to the District of Columbia; that no deed shall be issued until all assessments, taxes, costs, and charges due the District, of whatsoever nature, shall have been paid in full; and provided also, that minors or other persons under legal disability be allowed 1 year after attaining full age or after the removal of such legal disability to redeem the property so sold, or bid off by the Collector of Taxes in the name of the District of Columbia as aforesaid, from the purchaser or purchasers, his, her, or their assigns, or from the District of Columbia, on payment of the amount of purchase money so paid therefor, with 8% per annum interest thereon as aforesaid, together with all taxes and assessments that have been paid thereon by the purchaser or his assigns between the day of sale and the period of redemption with 8% per annum interest on the amount of such taxes and assessments. When such property is redeemed from a purchaser other than the District of Columbia, and when such property shall be redeemed from the District of Columbia, it shall, except as to the period of redemption, be upon the terms and conditions hereinabove provided for in the case of redemption by persons not under legal disability; provided, however, that failure on the part of the District, from any cause whatsoever, to enforce the liens acquired aforesaid shall not release the property from any tax whatsoever that may be due the District; provided further, that at any time after any property shall have been bid off as aforesaid by the Collector of Taxes, and before the expiration of the time allowed for the redemption thereof, the Collector of Taxes of said District, may issue to any person or persons, upon the payment of a sum not less than the aggregate amount of the taxes, penalties, and costs due at the time the property was bid off by the Collector and that may have accrued after that date, a certificate of sale, and if the property shall not be redeemed by the owner or owners thereof within 6 months from the date of such certificate, by payment to the Collector of Taxes of said District, for the use of the legal holder of the certificate, the amount exclusive of surplus paid by the person or persons to whom such certificate was issued and 1 1/2% thereon for each month or part thereof, a deed shall be given by the Mayor of the District of Columbia, or his successors in office, to the legal holder of such certificate, which deed shall have the same force and effect as the deed hereinbefore provided for in this section for property sold at the regular annual sale; and that the foregoing provisions in this section in reference to the sale at public or private sale of property in the District of Columbia advertised for sale for taxes and bid off by the Collector of Taxes be, and the same are also hereby, made applicable to all property in the District of Columbia subject to taxation where taxes levied and in arrears on July 1, 1897, or at any time prior thereto, have not been paid, and which at any sale held previous to said date were bid off in the name of the District of Columbia; and when for any reason any tax sale of real property in the District of Columbia may be set aside or canceled, such property may be readvertised and sold at the next ensuing annual sale.

(b) The time period for redemption of properties brought to tax sale under § 47-1205(b), shall be 6 months.

(c) The time period for redemption of properties brought to tax sale under § 8-807(f) shall be 6 months.

(d) The time period for redemption of property brought to tax sale under § 34-2109, § 34-2110, or § 34-2407.02, shall be 180 days.

(e) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no deed shall be issued for any property sold at the tax sale conducted in July 1995 and any tax sale thereafter, unless an application by the purchaser for the deed is made within 1 year from the last day of the tax sale.

(f) If no application for the deed is made within the 1-year period, the property will be sold at the next ensuing tax sale.

(g) Upon the failure of the purchaser to apply for the deed within 1 year from the last day of the tax sale, any money paid by the tax sale purchaser in exchange for a tax sale certificate shall be forfeited to the District of Columbia.

(h)(1) If a certificate of sale is issued for a property sold and the period of the right of redemption expires, the costs for ascertaining and locating a party with a legally protected interest in the property when the identity and location of the party are reasonably ascertainable, the costs for preparing, sending, or otherwise providing legally required notices to the party, and other incidental or consequential costs incurred or accrued as a result of unpaid taxes, shall be paid to the District of Columbia Treasurer, in addition to any sums owing under subsection (a) of this section, to redeem the property; provided, that:

(A) The Mayor shall, by regulation, fix the amount of all costs to be paid as the Mayor shall determine is reasonable to reimburse the District;

(B) The Mayor may, in his or her discretion, contract with any person or authorize the agent of the legal holder of the certificate to perform the services for which the costs shall be paid;

(C) Payment of costs shall be made for the use of the person who performed the services or the legal holder of the certificate, and (i) the person or legal holder of the certificate shall receive from the District of Columbia payment of costs as collected by the District of Columbia, or (ii) the Mayor may order that payment of costs be made directly to the person or legal holder of the certificate in accordance with procedures that the Mayor shall prescribe, by regulation.

(2) If the property is not redeemed and the District is liable for the costs incurred, the legal holder of the certificate shall pay the costs incurred and no deed shall be given until such costs are paid.

(3) The Mayor may waive, in whole or in part, costs in this subsection when it would be equitable or in the public interest; provided, that if the Mayor waives the costs, the District of Columbia shall reimburse the person who performed the services or the legal holder of the certificate for costs otherwise payable under this subsection.


(Feb. 28, 1898, 30 Stat. 250, ch. 32, § 3; July 1, 1902, 32 Stat. 633, ch. 1358, § 1(3); June 25, 1938, 52 Stat. 1201, ch. 702, § 9; Feb. 22, 1944, 58 Stat. 20, ch. 29; June 11, 1960, 74 Stat. 203, Pub. L. 86-507, § 1(52); Aug. 9, 1986, D.C. Law 6-135, § 14(a), 33 DCR 3771; Sept. 20, 1989, D.C. Law 8-31, § 5(a), 36 DCR 4750; June 13, 1990, D.C. Law 8-136, § 9(a)(1), 37 DCR 2620; Sept. 26, 1995, D.C. Law 11-52, § 109(b), 42 DCR 3684; Sept. 9, 1996, D.C. Law 11-153, § 3(b), 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(i), 48 DCR 334.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 47-1304.

1973 Ed., § 47-1003.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 34-2407.02, § 42-1214, and § 47-1205.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-305 rewrote subsec. (a) and added subsec. (h).

Cross References

Documentary evidence, certified mail return receipts, see § 14-506.

Emergency Legislation

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

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 4(j) 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).

Editor's Notes

Office of Collector of Taxes abolished: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 47-401.