City-parish selling thousands of pieces of property; website available for interested buyers

The Advocate|ANDREA GALLO|AGALLO@THEADVOCATE.COM Feb. 14, 2016; 4:15 p.m. Baton Rouge, LA

Looking for a good deal on some land in Baton Rouge?

The city-parish is selling off thousands of properties that were placed in their hands after owners stopped paying property taxes on them. The average starting bid for the properties is $3,400, which includes title insurance and closing costs.

Information on the property is available online at, and they are ready for purchase. Prospective owners can place a deposit on a property that interests them, and that property will enter an auction where all interested prospective owners can bid.

Auctions happen on the first Wednesday of each month. If the original interested buyer who put down a deposit does not win the auction, he or she will be refunded the deposit amount.

City-parish leaders are hoping the property sales will generate some extra money for the East Baton Rouge budget. Once people buy the properties, they will be required to start paying property taxes on them.

“Tax-delinquent properties are a burden to our on-time taxpayers as well as a financial liability to the parish in upkeep expense,” said William R. Aaron II, a special assistant parish attorney.

New Orleans started the same kind of property sale in March. In New Orleans, close to 1,800 properties were up for sale and 85 percent of them were already tax delinquent before Hurricane Katrina.

The same website hosts the New Orleans property sales.

“Adjudicated property is one of the main causes of blighted and abandoned properties, leading to crime and decreased revenues for jurisdictions everywhere, and we are just happy to be able to provide a viable solution to those seeking to redress this problem, once and for all,” said Bryan Barrios, CEO of CivicSource, in a news release.


COVINGTON, LA (February 10, 2016) –St. Tammany Parish is taking the necessary steps to sell thousands of adjudicated properties through a new online auction process. The properties are those that previously went unsold in a tax sale, and as a result, became adjudicated to the parish. Only properties that have been adjudicated for more than five years will available. The sale will provide winning bidders with full ownership of each property along with title insurance. This is the parish’s first adjudicated property sale in a few years, and it is the parish’s first time using an online auction to sell adjudicated properties.

St. Tammany Parish is collaborating with CivicSource to auction the tax delinquent properties. The sales will place these properties back on the tax rolls, return them to commerce and generate significant, recurring annual tax revenues to the parish. Since buyers pay the total cost of bringing these properties to sale, the parish and taxpayers pay nothing. St. Tammany parish will post a complete listing of qualified adjudicated properties to and allow investors to nominate properties for an auction through a sale initiating deposit.

The online auction replaces the traditional adjudication sale held at the Courthouse where participants were required to be present during the auction process. By hosting the sale online, bidders who would not normally be able to attend the auction in person are still able to participate from their homes or places of business.

CivicSource has already proven successful in other communities across the state. Since launching in July, the auctions have collected over $16 million in unbudgeted revenue through the sale of over 600 properties. New Orleans’ first-ever online auction of adjudicated properties was a tremendous success with bidding wars springing up on several properties. Anyone interested in participating in St. Tammany’s auction may register online prior to the auction at

St. Tammany parish officials are hopeful these auctions will help spur new development, reduce blight and strengthen neighborhoods across parish.




Baton Rouge reaches out to New Orleans business to sell adjudicated properties


Seeking help to sell adjudicated properties, officials in the East Baton Rouge Parish Attorney’s Office have partnered with a New Orleans-based company that specializes in moving adjudicated properties and assists potential buyers with the required paperwork.

Baton Rouge has more than 4,000 adjudicated properties, meaning properties relegated to the city-parish after the owner failed to pay the property taxes and no one purchased that property at a tax sale. Of those 4,000 properties, more than 2,100 have been adjudicated for more than five years and are now available for purchase through Civic Source’s website.

“The hope and theory is it get it put back into commerce,” says William R. Aaron II, special assistant parish attorney and head of adjudicated properties in the Parish Attorney’s Office.

Some of those properties are ditches in a subdivision and some are discarded parcels left over when a large tract was subdivided, while others have been adjudicated by mistake, Aaron says.

If a potential buyer tries to purchase the property through the Parish Attorney’s Office, they are required to do all the legwork of finding past owners and notifying them through notices of the impending sale. Civic Source does the due process work for the buyer, and also offers title insurance.

Title insurance protects the purchaser from unforeseen mortgages and liens, as well as legal attacks from a former landowner who was not notified of the property’s sale.

Civic Source is handling only property that has been adjudicated for more than five years. That time distinction is important because when someone wants to purchase a property that has been adjudicated for less than five years, a public notice has to be posted for six months. After five years, the public notice is 60 days.

Aaron says since the properties went up on Civic Source’s website Monday, they have already seen scores of people head to the Parish Attorney’s Office to settle their affairs and redeem the property. One employee was out one day earlier this week and had 60 messages left on her phone when she got back the next day.

The city-parish does not pay Civic Source a penny for the service, Aaron says. The company sets the initial price of the property to cover its expenses, and makes its money through closing costs, Aaron says. Any money generated above the initial price goes to the city-parish.

Brian Danos, chief operating officer for Civic Source, says the people using their website are a mix of investors looking to purchase land in bulk and people in neighborhoods who tire of seeing blighted property and buy the land to clean it up.

“A lot of these properties are blighted properties and they are really harmful to these neighborhoods,” Danos says.

In 2015, the company sold 645 properties in New Orleans and other parts of the state to new buyers and had former owners pay off the taxes to redeem 70 properties.

Danos says it takes the company about 120 working days from the time a potential buyer pays a $750 deposit and expresses interest in buying a property to the date on which the actual sale is held. At the sale, anyone is free to bid on a property, Danos says. If the person who paid the deposit is not the highest bidder, then the company refunds their deposit and adds $750 to the total of the highest bidder.

Danos says they will begin marketing the service in February to educate investors on how Civic Source works.

“Every market we go into, it’s an education process,” he says.

—Ryan Broussard

Online auction launched to sell EBR tax delinquent, blighted properties

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) –East Baton Rouge Parish leaders launched an online auction Monday they hope will help fix up rundown property.

The Investigators dug into the city’s problems with blighted property back in November. An investigation exposed thousands of reports of blight over the past five years.

Now, the city says it has a new and improved way to deal with blighted properties often behind on their taxes.

Leaders launched a new website today on for anyone interested in purchasing tax-delinquent property. More than 2,000 of them are now up for auction.

Previously, buyers’ only option was to go to City Hall and speak with the Parish Attorney’s Office. You can still do that. But leaders say the online auction will be more convenient.

“We do expect to see a rush of attention to these properties that are made more public now through the online presence and the transparency of information that we are able to provide to people who want to shop these,” said Stephen Morel, Chief Legal Officer, Civic Source.

Like the city, those behind the website say the online auction will cut taxpayers a break.

“It’s putting them back on the tax roll and producing much needed revenue for the jurisdiction, for the tax authority as well as relieving the tax body of the obligation to maintain them,” said Morel.

The city says using the website from start to finish to close your title will cost an estimated $3,000. Current owners will still have a chance to pay their taxes and keep their properties.


Copyright 2016 WAFB. All rights reserved.