Site where house was gutted by fire and family forced out of trailer sold for unpaid taxes
Albert Kramberger, Special to Montreal Gazette
Published on: June 24, 2015 | Last Updated: June 24, 2015 2:47 PM EDT
St-Lazare sold off Allan Bassenden’s former Leduc Street property to collect unpaid municipal taxes.
This past spring, the town had issued a public notice that it would hold an auction of properties for 2013-2014 tax arrears if the owners do not make amends. According to the town, Bassenden and his wife owed about $7,000 in back taxes for the property at 1610 Leduc St., where their home was gutted by fire in March 2011.
Last Thursday, the city accepted a $60,000 offer from Rejean Paiement at the auction of the property. Paiement could not be reached for comment to discuss future plans for the site.
The 9,537-square-foot lot, zoned for a single-family home, is just off Ste-Angélique Road. The current municipal valuation for the property is set at $43,700.
Technically, Bassenden has up to a year to try to reclaim rights to the property.
Under provincial regulations, if a property is sold at a municipal auction for unpaid taxes, a pre-auction owner has 12 months to repurchase the property, by paying the auction sale price plus 10 per cent. As well, a new owner cannot remove materials from the property or alter the property in any way during this 12-month period.
“There’s nothing we can do. It’s done,” Bassenden said the day after the auction.
“We don’t have a lot of money,” he added. “There’s nothing we can do, so that’s it. Just move on.”
Bassenden, who has since moved out of St-Lazare, noted the CIBC has a lien on the Leduc property for about $40,000.
Earlier this year, Bassenden had mandated a real estate agent to list the property for sale. The asking price was $99,000.
Bassenden’s family lived in a mobile home parked on the lot for a few years and failed to meet orders to clear and secure the property following the blaze, prompting a legal dispute with the town. The gutted home was demolished in the fall of 2012, about 20 months after the blaze. While the trailer had been removed from the property last year, the town was still demanding debris be removed from the site.
Bassenden had sued his insurance company after it denied a claim of about $900,000. The lawsuit was dismissed by the court last year. Lawyers for the Belair Insurance had argued an automotive repair business had been operating in the garage that could have caused the 2011 fire, thus voiding Bassenden’s homeowner’s insurance policy.
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