General Laws of Massachusetts - Chapter 60 Collection of Local Taxes - Section 81A Land with unoccupied buildings; inspection; abandonment; foreclosure of rights of redemption

Section 81A. Whenever a city or town shall have purchased or taken land for non-payment of taxes under section forty-three or fifty-three, respectively, and the treasurer of said city or town has reason to believe that the buildings located thereon are unoccupied, he shall forthwith request the inspector of buildings, or such other person designated by the mayor or board of selectmen to perform the duties of the inspector of buildings as defined in section six of chapter one hundred and forty-three, to inspect the buildings. Said inspection may be in addition to and need not be in conjunction with the inspection as performed by the inspector of buildings pursuant to said section six, and shall not preclude a city or town from taking any action prescribed in said chapter one hundred and forty-three, relative to said land.

If the inspector of buildings determines that said buildings are abandoned property he shall notify the record owner, and, if appropriate, the mortgagee in possession or lessee, of his finding. Such notice shall include a statement that the inspection was conducted at the request of the local treasurer and that the failure of the record owner, or other interested party, to correct the conditions described in the notice within thirty days of receipt or publication of the notice will result in proceedings to foreclose the record owner’s right of redemption. Such notice may be served in the manner required by law for the service of subpoenas on witnesses in civil cases or may be published. The inspector of buildings shall also, at the time of service or publication, post a copy of the notice in two or more convenient public places.

If at the expiration of the thirty-day period, the inspector of buildings is of the opinion that action has not been initiated to correct the conditions described in the notice, he shall forthwith notify the local treasurer in writing, under penalties of perjury, that the buildings on the land have been found to be abandoned property. Such written notice shall include therein the facts and circumstances which formed the basis of his findings, and a copy of the notice served on the record owner, or if service was by publication, an account of the steps taken to locate the record owner and a copy of the published notice.

Upon receipt of such written notice the treasurer shall immediately notify the commissioner in writing, under the penalties of perjury, of such finding. Said notice to the commissioner shall include a copy of the notice filed by the inspector of buildings, such information appearing in the records of the assessors and of the collector and tending to establish the validity of the tax title on such land, and any further information that the commissioner may deem appropriate.

If the commissioner is of the opinion that the facts and circumstances as found by the inspector of buildings are sufficient to establish that the buildings on the land so taken or purchased are abandoned property and that the facts essential to the validity of the tax title on such land have been adequately established, he shall make an affidavit of such finding which shall be recorded in the registry of deeds for the district wherein the land lies.

The commissioner shall incorporate in his affidavit the statements of the inspector of buildings and the treasurer, or such portions thereof as the commissioner finds pertinent, and when recorded, shall be prima facie evidence of such facts.

Upon the recording of the affidavit the treasurer shall bring a petition in the land court pursuant to section sixty-five for the foreclosure of all rights of redemptions of said land.

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Last modified: September 11, 2015