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Tue, March 02

Yavapai County delinquent tax lien sale set for Feb. 9

Yavapai County Courthouse in Prescott, Arizona. (Courier, file)

Yavapai County Courthouse in Prescott, Arizona. (Courier, file)

Every February on the second Tuesday, thousands of tax liens resulting from unpaid property taxes go up for sale by the Yavapai County treasurer.

This year, 2,806 liens are listed for a Feb. 9 online auction. The 2021 total is down from last year’s total of 2,994 and 2019’s 3,064. (The list is published today, Jan. 22, in The Daily Courier’s legal notices; click here to view the paper as it printed. A 60-page printable version of the list is also available at this link.)

Yavapai County Treasurer Chip Davis said his department annually lists for-sale-by-auction the liens that have been placed on properties with delinquent taxes.

A lien is a legal claim on property to satisfy a debt or obligation. When people bid on and buy the liens through the Yavapai County Treasurer’s auction, they are getting the lien, not the property.

“What is different this year is interest rates,” Davis said. “Banks are paying next to zero on interest rates so purchasing tax liens should pay far better than most investments in the market. It should be better for property owners that couldn’t make their payments because interest rates to buy back and get current should be lower than past years.”

In this year’s Feb. 9 auction, liens resulting from delinquent taxes from 2019 will be up for sale. Prior to having their properties listed in the lien sale, Davis said owners receive a number of notices to alert them to the unpaid taxes.

“We also let people know when a lien is due to expire,” he said. “If you hold one for 10 years it expires; if someone holds one that long, then it is no longer a good investment.”

The Feb. 9 tax sale is an online auction at General information about the sale is available on the County Treasurer’s website at

After purchasing a lien, the successful bidder must hold onto it for at least three years. In 2024, if the property owner has not paid off the lien, the lien holder would then be able to file a lawsuit to foreclose on the property and get ownership.

Typically, about 100 to 150 of the tax liens ultimately result in the foreclosure procedure, county officials previously said.

The auction involves proxy bids, in which auction participants enter their lowest acceptable bid for a certificate, with auction participants placing a proxy bid for an interest rate. A deposit is required in the amount of $25 or 10% of the certificate face, whichever is greater.

The number of lien properties has generally been trending downward since the end of the recession that started in 2008 and lasted through the early 2010s.

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