Section 5721.32 | Sale of tax certificates by public auction.
(A) The sale of tax certificates by public auction may be conducted at any time after completion of the advertising of the sale under section 5721.31 of the Revised Code, on the date and at the time and place designated in the advertisements, and may be continued from time to time as the county treasurer directs. The county treasurer may offer the tax certificates for sale in blocks of tax certificates, consisting of any number of tax certificates as determined by the county treasurer, and may specify a certificate period of not less than three years and not more than six years.
(B)(1) The sale of tax certificates under this section shall be conducted at a public auction by the county treasurer or a designee of the county treasurer.
(2) No person shall be permitted to bid without completing a bidder registration form, in the form prescribed by the tax commissioner, and without filing the form with the county treasurer prior to the start of the auction, together with remittance of a registration fee, in cash, of five hundred dollars. The bidder registration form shall include a tax identification number of the registrant. The registration fee is refundable at the end of bidding on the day of the auction, unless the registrant is the winning bidder for one or more tax certificates or one or more blocks of tax certificates, in which case the fee may be applied toward the deposit required by this section.
(3) The county treasurer may require a person who wishes to bid on one or more parcels to submit a letter from a financial institution stating that the bidder has sufficient funds available to pay the purchase price of the parcels and a written authorization for the treasurer to verify such information with the financial institution. The county treasurer may require submission of the letter and authorization sufficiently in advance of the auction to allow for verification. No person who fails to submit the required letter and authorization, or whose financial institution fails to provide the requested verification, shall be permitted to bid.
(C) At the public auction, the county treasurer or the treasurer's designee or agent shall begin the bidding at eighteen per cent per year simple interest, and accept lower bids in even increments of one-fourth of one per cent to the rate of zero per cent. The county treasurer, designee, or agent shall award the tax certificate to the person bidding the lowest certificate rate of interest. The county treasurer shall decide which person is the winning bidder in the event of a tie for the lowest bid offered, or if a person contests the lowest bid offered. The county treasurer's decision is not appealable.
(D)(1) The winning bidder shall pay the county treasurer a cash deposit of at least ten per cent of the certificate purchase price not later than the close of business on the day of the sale. The winning bidder shall pay the balance and the fee required under division (H) of this section not later than five business days after the day on which the certificate is sold. Except as provided under division (D)(2) of this section, if the winning bidder fails to pay the balance and fee within the prescribed time, the bidder forfeits the deposit, and the county treasurer shall retain the tax certificate and may attempt to sell it at any auction conducted at a later date.
(2) At the request of a winning bidder, the county treasurer may release the bidder from the bidder's tax certificate purchase obligation. The county treasurer may retain all or any portion of the deposit of a bidder granted a release. After granting a release under this division, the county treasurer may award the tax certificate to the person that submitted the second lowest bid at the auction.
(3) The county treasurer shall deposit the deposit forfeited or retained under divisions (D)(1) or (2) of this section in the county treasury to the credit of the tax certificate administration fund.
(E) Upon receipt of the full payment of the certificate purchase price from the purchaser, the county treasurer shall issue the tax certificate and record the tax certificate sale by entering into a tax certificate register the certificate purchase price, the certificate rate of interest, the date the certificate was sold, the certificate period, the name and address of the certificate holder, and any other information the county treasurer considers necessary. The county treasurer may keep the tax certificate register in a hard-copy format or in an electronic format. The name and address of the certificate holder may be, upon receipt of instructions from the purchaser, that of the secured party of the actual purchaser, or an agent or custodian for the purchaser or secured party. The county treasurer also shall transfer the tax certificate to the certificate holder. The county treasurer shall apportion the part of the proceeds from the sale representing taxes, penalties, and interest among the several taxing districts in the same proportion that the amount of taxes levied by each district against the certificate parcel in the preceding tax year bears to the taxes levied by all such districts against the certificate parcel in the preceding tax year, and credit the part of the proceeds representing assessments and other charges to the items of assessments and charges in the order in which those items became due. Upon issuing a tax certificate, the delinquent taxes that make up the certificate purchase price are transferred, and the superior lien of the state and its taxing districts for those delinquent taxes is conveyed intact to the certificate holder.
(F) If a tax certificate is offered for sale under this section but is not sold, the county treasurer may sell the certificate in a negotiated sale authorized under section 5721.33 of the Revised Code, or may strike the corresponding certificate parcel from the list of parcels selected for tax certificate sales. The lien for taxes, assessments, charges, penalties, and interest against a parcel stricken from the list thereafter may be foreclosed in the manner prescribed by section 323.25, sections 323.65 to 323.79, or section 5721.14 or 5721.18 of the Revised Code unless, prior to the institution of such proceedings against the parcel, the county treasurer restores the parcel to the list of parcels selected for tax certificate sales.
(G) A certificate holder shall not be liable for damages arising from a violation of sections 3737.87 to 3737.891 or Chapter 3704., 3734., 3745., 3746., 3750., 3751., 3752., 6109., or 6111. of the Revised Code, or a rule adopted or order, permit, license, variance, or plan approval issued under any of those chapters, that is or was committed by another person in connection with the parcel for which the tax certificate is held.
(H) When selling a tax certificate under this section, the county treasurer shall charge a fee to the purchaser of the certificate. The county treasurer shall set the fee at a reasonable amount that covers the treasurer's costs of administering the sale of the tax certificate. The county treasurer shall deposit the fee in the county treasury to the credit of the tax certificate administration fund.
(I) After selling a tax certificate under this section, the county treasurer shall send written notice by certified mail to the owner of the certificate parcel at the owner's last known tax-mailing address. The notice shall inform the owner that the tax certificate was sold, shall describe the owner's options to redeem the parcel, including entering into a redemption payment plan under division (C)(1) of section 5721.38 of the Revised Code, and shall name the certificate holder and its secured party, if any. However, the county treasurer is not required to send a notice under this division if the treasurer previously has attempted to send a notice to the owner of the parcel at the owner's last known tax-mailing address, and the postal service has returned the notice as undeliverable.
(J) A tax certificate shall not be sold to the owner of the certificate parcel.