Hartford tax auction finds bidders for nine of 10 delinquent properties. Here’s what’s being paid. – Hartford Courant

Hartford — Potential profit and a sense of civic pride are what led Hartford resident and contractor Andre Davis to attend the city of Hartford’s tax deed sale of 10 properties Thursday at Dunkin’ Donuts Park.

“I’m interested in these properties that need a lot of attention and try to get these things on the tax rolls so we can better Hartford in regards to having more equity in the city,” Davis, who owns and operates A & D Development , said before the auction.

His goal was to acquire a dilapidated property, bring it up to code and hang on to it as an investment.

“I usually fix them and resell,” he said, adding that he’s rehabilitated about 30 properties in the city over the past 10 years. “Maybe I’m going to hang on to this one. I’m a resident of Hartford. I like to see the houses in Hartford get better and better.”

Davis, who set a budget of about $30,000 to $40,000 prior to the auction, was among 40 potential bidders who attended the event, during which nine of the 10 properties were sold. The original bid started at what was owed the city in taxes, and then escalated depending on the interest in the property from bidders.

All winning bidders had to put down a $5,000 down payment on-site, with the balance of the winning bid due to attorney Adam Cohen of Pullman & Comely, who ran the auction, by 4 pm Tuesday.

It was the first tax deed sale in the city since October 2020, according to Hartford Tax Collector Nancy S. Raich. About 60 properties were originally listed for sale months ago, Raich said, but some 50 property owners either paid the taxes that were owed to the city or several filed for bankruptcy protection.

Raich said the city recouped about $1.44 million in taxes as owners paid their delinquent taxes since the effort began in October 2021, with another $545,000 coming to the city if the sales from Thursday are finalized.

The city cannot profit from the tax did sale. Funds from a successful bid that were over what was owed to the city will be placed in an escrow account at Superior Court, Cohen said. A lienholder on the property can then apply to the court to be paid from the overage.

If no lien holders apply for the overage, the funds can be paid out to the original owner, provided they apply for it, according to Cohen.

If no one applies for the overages, the funds go to the state, Cohen said.

The list of properties that sold, the amount that the city recouped and the winning bids are as follows:

  • 72 Coolidge Street, $35,134.21, $80,000
  • 135 Cheshire Street, $20.382.50, $65,000
  • 30 Atwood Street, $69,057.51, $176,000
  • 173 Affleck Street, $131,697.71, $180,000
  • 328 Park Terrace. $39,450.98, $76,000
  • 190 Edgewood Street, $18,171.07, $20,000
  • 41 Mahl Ave., $53,490.50, sold with 45 Mahl Ave., $175,000
  • 45 Mahl Ave., $103,473.70, sold with 41 Mahl Ave., $175,000
  • 83 Mansfield Street, $70,847.71, $85,000

All properties were sold as is, which generated some confusion among bidders.

The sole property that did not draw any bids, 638 Garden St., no longer had a structure on it, something that was unknown to bidders until it was announced by several people at the auction. The owner of that property owes nearly $100,000 in delinquent taxes. Instead of being sold, the city will acquire title to that property, Cohen said.

Other properties, such as Coolidge Street and Atwood Street, sparked bidding wars, with bids going up mostly in increments of $5,000.

The Mahl Avenue properties were sold together and likely wouldn’t have generated any bids because the city also has a $466,000 mortgage on the properties.

A city official said during the auction that the city was willing to extinguish the mortgage for $100,000. A winning bid in the amount of $175,000 came forward.

Even though the winning bidders have to pony up the full amount of their bids by Tuesday, the current owners of the property still have six months from the date of the auction to pay their delinquent taxes and keep their property, Cohen said.

“It’s one final chance to be correct,” Cohen said.

Davis bid on several properties, but walked away from the auction empty-handed and a bit disappointed.

“I didn’t want to pay too much,” he said as he exited the park.

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