Grand Forks County Sheriff's Office sells two abandoned mobile homes in yearly auction
This year’s mobile home auction featured three properties that were seized due to delinquent taxes. Prior to being seized, though, the homes were abandoned by their owners.
GRAND FORKS — This year’s mobile home auction, organized by the Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Office, featured three properties that were seized due to delinquent taxes. Prior to being seized, though, the homes were abandoned by their owners.
"I didn't kick anybody out," said Cpl. Chris Hutton.
In October of last year, Hutton was provided a list of 184 mobile homes throughout the county that were delinquent on their property taxes. After reaching out to owners by letters, texts, phone calls and in-person visits, only three delinquent homes remained.
The auction took place on Tuesday morning, May 23, outside of the Grand Forks County Courthouse. Only two bidders were present, and they each purchased one unit within the trailer park they either manage or own.
The first mobile home listed for sale, a 1979 Liberty located in Ack’s Mobile Home Park in Emerado, was sold back to the owner of the park for the minimum bid of $392.92. The home had $182.92 in delinquent taxes, which was included in the sale price.
The second mobile home, a 1972 Skyline also located in Ack’s Mobile Home Park, owed $252.10 in delinquent taxes and had a minimum bid of $462.10. No one placed a bid on this unit, likely because of how much it has deteriorated in quality.
“To me, looking at it, it probably should be demolished on site,” Hutton said. “... The frame is starting to sink down into the ground.”
The third mobile home, a 1995 Homark located at 4905 Silver Gate Dr. in the Gateway Terrace community, owed $291.38 in delinquent taxes and sold to the property manager for its minimum bid of $501.38.
Hutton anticipates the two purchased properties will be resold and rented out of their current lots.
The money made from the mobile home auction covers the delinquent taxes and sheriff’s office fees. If there was a surplus after taxes and fees, Hutton said it would be dispersed similarly to the sale of a mortgaged personal property.
Though each property owed less than $300 in taxes, mobile homes are typically seized after one year of delinquency, regardless of the dollar amount.
After an owner fails to pay yearly property taxes on their mobile home in March, they begin to receive letters from the tax office informing them they’re delinquent. In October, the property is turned over to the sheriff’s office. The sheriff’s office sends out a certified letter informing the owner that if they don’t pay their taxes within a certain time frame, their property will be distrained.
“Come December, that’s when I’ll actually go out and post distrain notices on the trailer,” Hutton said.
Then, once the weather improves and potential buyers can check out the trailers in person, the sheriff’s office advertises them for sale.
“Now, these trailers have been delinquent for three plus years,” Hutton said.
There are a couple of reasons the properties could have taken longer than one year to be seized. Hutton’s predecessor may have done the process differently, or struggled to locate the property owners. The sheriff’s office did a public notification about the properties for sale this year, allowing them to reach a wider number of people.
“Up to the day of the sale, the (owner) can pay the taxes on it and then, you know, it would revert back to them,” Hutton said.
According to Hutton, properties are usually abandoned by an owner who chooses to move away after falling behind on lot rent.
There are usually one or two mobile homes up for sale each year.