Kaplan wants Oakland to buy tax-defaulted parcels coming soon to auction

One hundred fifty-three tax-defaulted properties in Oakland are coming up for auction next March. In an effort to help alleviate the housing crisis, Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan wants the city to acquire some of those vacant properties.

Oakland beatKaplan said Thursday that she will urge the City Council to adopt a resolution to allow Oakland to purchase some of the available properties in partnership with local housing non-profits.

“With the stark crisis facing so many in our community we need an all hands on deck approach to provide for vitally needed affordable housing,” Kaplan said.

More: List of Alameda County Sale of Property At Auction

The move comes after a group of homeless mothers commandeered a vacant home in West Oakland that had recently been purchased by a Southern California investment group.

The women, calling themselves, “Moms 4 Housing,” took shelter in the house on Magnolia Street in Oakland and attracted attention to the growing problem of housing speculators preying on homes and many times leaving them vacant. The problem persists not just in Oakland, but all over the Bay Area.

In these situations, well-financed investment companies often ignite bidding wars for properties, therefore, edging out moderate and lower-income individual buyers.

But following an Alameda County Superior Court judge’s order last week, the Moms 4 Housing members were forcefully evicted last Tuesday morning by Alameda County sheriff’s deputies.

Earlier this month, Alameda County Tax Collector Henry Levy provided local cities with lists of properties that will soon go to auction for unpaid taxes. An online auction is scheduled for Mar. 20-23, and potentially, a second auction from May 15-18, Levy wrote. The parcels included on the list have defaulted on their taxes for five or more years.



Categories: Oakland, Oakland City Council, Uncategorized

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4 replies

  1. The City of Oakland could own some fine property for the Homeless by spending its current efforts on real property. At least it would disperse the homeless up to the hills where they belong. Other Cities in the East Bay could buy these as well and move their homeless in to Oakland.

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  2. Another totally reactionary, bad idea from Oakland’s leadership. There’s been no thought into this except Rebecca thought it sounded good to the group currently yelling the loudest at Council. Buying and repairing tax defaulted homes is extremely risky, expensive and totally inefficient. We need city leaders to be smarter than this. They should be planning to re-develop all the well built government buildings throughout the city. The downtown jail and parking garage, the former ALCO SSA Bldg on Broadway -they’re all seismically sound, huge and could be gutted and reborn as hundreds of low cost housing units. Most importantly, Oakland’s been here before, their track record partnering with non-profits to buy forlorn apartment buildings is abysmal. What are they going to do better this time? Oakland already doesn’t audit the non-profits it partners with, so there could be massive amounts of waste, we’ll never know and homeless will still be homeless. Additionally, what happens when Oakland buys an occupied tax defaulted property? The tax assessor made no note of whether any of these 150+ properties are vacant… or even housing units (vs office/commercial). The plan needs full disclosure and there needs to be audits of the most recent similar initiatives before any of this moves forward.

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  3. Any idea why these defaults are happening now and why there are so many new buying opportunities for communities to purchase underwater properties? What is the underlying cause for this sudden shift out of real estate? When you see underwater properties and tax default in the same sentence you have to ask some questions about the health of the construction industry, especially considering all the entitled properties that are sitting idle. Is there a bigger problem looming that has not hit the news yet?

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