Special Legislation proposed by the Affordable Housing Renovation Partnership.
 
An Act Respecting Property in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality

3rd Session, 62st General Assembly

60 Elizabeth II, 2011

Explanatory Note

This bill assists the Cape Breton Regional Municipality to address the crisis of non-tax-paying, deteriorating and vacant properties by permitting the municipality to take possession of unoccupied properties that are, in effect, more than two and one-half years in tax arrears, by providing, however, for at least one deferral of six months if the property is both occupied and safe for occupancy, by maintaining a public list of properties that would qualify for municipal possession, by reducing the "right of redemption" at tax sale from six months to sixty days, and by allowing the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, at its discretion, to transfer residential properties owned by the municipality to the Nova Scotia Housing Development Corporation.

Be it enacted by the Lieutenant Governor and Assembly as follows:

  1. Notwithstanding Part VI of Chapter 18 of the Acts of 1998, Municipal Government Act, the Council of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality may, by by-law, take possession of a property if the taxes with respect to the property are not paid in full for the two taxation years preceding the year in which the by-law is approved, but the first reading of the by-law shall not occur before June 30th of the year immediately following the second consecutive year in which the taxes with respect to the property are not paid in full and provided taxes with respect to the property remain unpaid in full on the day preceding the final reading of the by-law.
  2. The Council of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality shall provide notice of at least fourteen (14) days by registered mail to the owner of the property and in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality of its intention to consider, at an open meeting of Council, a by-law described in section 1, and the owner of the property or the owner's agent shall have the right to be heard at the meeting prior to a final vote being taken on the proposed by-law.
  3. The Council shall defer for not less than six (6) months a decision to take possession of a property pursuant to Section 1 of this Act if the Council is satisfied that the property is occupied by the owner or authorized tenants of the owner and is safe for occupation pursuant to the relevant statutes and by-laws, but where a previous deferral for not less than six (6) months has been granted no further deferral is required.
  4. The Clerk of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality shall maintain a list of the addresses or legal descriptions of properties for which a by-law referred to in section 1 could legally be enacted, and the list shall be a public document.
  5. The Nova Scotia Housing Development Corporation may make application to the Council of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality to acquire and transfer to the Corporation a property appearing on the list in section 2.
  6. Notwithstanding section 152(1) of Chapter 18 of the Acts of 1998, Municipal Government Act, land sold for non-payment of taxes may be redeemed by the owner, a person with a mortgage, lien or other charge on the land or a person having an interest in the land within sixty (60) days after the date of the sale, but where, at the time of sale, taxes on the land are in arrears for more than three (3) years, no right of redemption exists.
  7. The Council of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality may transfer, by by-law and at its discretion, any property owned by the Cape Breton Regional Municipality to the Nova Scotia Housing Development Corporation for the sum of one (1) dollar, provided that any property so transferred at the sole discretion of the Council of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality is zoned for residential purposes and has been zoned for residential purposes for not less than three (3) years preceding the transfer by-law.