Press Release

County Moving Auction of Foreclosed Properties Online

"Switching to an online auctions allows greater access for ordinary citizens who want to purchase a home in Milwaukee County."

By - Sep 20th, 2018 12:16 pm

MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors has tasked the Sheriff’s Office and County Executive Chris Abele‘s administration with developing an online auction system for the sale of foreclosed properties. An internet-based system would replace the current practice of conducting in-person auctions in the basement of the Safety Building.

The Board adopted Supervisor Eddie Cullen‘s resolution at their monthly meeting today on a vote of 16 – 1 (Dimitrijevic).

“Switching to an online auctions allows greater access for ordinary citizens who want to purchase a home in Milwaukee County. Taking the foreclosed property auction out of the basement of the Safety Building and moving it online will make it more accessible for people who cannot physically be present or feel intimidated by that process. I thank Acting Sheriff Schmidt, Chief Judge White, my colleagues on the County Board, the Wisconsin State Legislature, and City of Milwaukee Attorney Hagopian for their collaboration and support in making this positive change for Milwaukee County taxpayers,” said Cullen.

The Wisconsin Legislature enacted changes to state law in 2018 that allowed counties to hold online auctions of foreclosed properties and, separately, established minimum requirements for bidders.

Prior to the changes the sheriff could not reject a potential buyer, including known problem landlords who owed back taxes or had excessive building code violations. Now, anyone who bids on a foreclosed property cannot be more than four months past due on existing property tax payments or have any unresolved building code violations, and must submit an affidavit to this effect.

Other provisions of the new law prohibit bidders acting on behalf a business or an individual who owes taxes or fines for code violations.

Extensive reporting by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on certain property owners who racked up code violations and fines while continuing to purchase foreclosed properties helped spur lawmakers to take action.

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