Relaxed City Policy Could Hasten Sale of Foreclosed Properties

At least two Munjoy Hill houses are among 95 properties seized by the city for unpaid taxes. These properties could be affected by a new policy that makes it easier for the city to sell such properties. The Portland City Council adopted the changes in April.

The intent of the new policy, which eliminates a restriction against selling a house if the sale displaces a resident, among other changes, is to get more properties on the tax rolls more quickly.

Tax-acquired properties in the Munjoy Hill neighborhood include a three-family home owned by John J. Ricci at 49 Obrion St., with unpaid taxes of $12,431.46, and a single-family home owned by Anne-Marie and Mary C. O’Rourke at 37 Montreal St., with unpaid taxes of $11,448.07.

City treasurer Melissa Norton told the Observer that letters were going out to owners in May informing them of the new policy and giving them 60 days in which to respond by paying back taxes. Further administrative approvals are needed before the city can sell a seized property on which taxes remain unpaid, she said.