Public Auction Sales of Tax-Defaulted Property


April 21-24, 2017


San Francisco 2015 Tax Auction Post-Sale Report (pdf)

San Francisco 2017 Tax Post-Sale Report (pdf)

Excess Proceeds Claim Form (pdf)


If you would like property characteristics for the properties listed, please visit the San Francisco Property Information Map at

Parcels receiving no bids, at the tax collector’s discretion, may be re-offered at a minimum price appropriate to stimulate competitive bidding.


The right to redeem has been revived for all properties unsold at our 2017 tax sale.


CAUTION - INVESTIGATE BEFORE YOU BID - PHYSICAL INSPECTION OF THE PROPERTY IS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED. DO NOT attempt to purchase any property at the auction unless, prior to the auction, an investigation has been made as to the title, exact location, desirability, and usefulness of the properties available. Parcels are sold on an “AS IS” basis and the City and County of San Francisco in no way assumes any responsibility, implied or otherwise, that the properties are in compliance with zoning ordinances or conform to building codes and permits.

Bidders are required to conduct any research of due diligence they wish to conduct prior to submitting a bid. A bid is an irrevocable offer to purchase a property. A bid accepted is a binding contract. A bidder is legally and financially responsible for all properties bid upon whether representing one self or acting as an agent. The City and County of San Francisco Treasurer and Tax Collector reserve the right to pursue all available legal remedies against a non-paying bidder.

Vacant (unimproved) land may not have an address; therefore, the approximate geographic location can be determined through the use of the County Assessor’s Plat Maps. The City and County of San Francisco does not furnish metes and bounds descriptions, nor does it assume any responsibility for any such descriptions recorded in County records. Exact boundary lines of vacant, “unimproved”, and “improved” properties can only be determined by a survey of the property, initiated at the purchaser’s expense. To determine what use can be made of the property, consult the Planning Department of the City and County of San Francisco for zoning information.

NOTE: Neither the State of California, nor the City and County of San Francisco, nor any person designated by these two agencies is liable for:

1. Damages sustained to any property purchased at public auction from the time of the sale until the time of recordation of the tax deed to purchaser.

2. The failure of any electronic equipment that may prevent a person from participating in the sale.

3. Known or unknown conditions of any property purchased at public auction, including, but not limited to, errors in the assessor’s records pertaining to improvement of the property.


Parcels offered for sale may contain hazardous wastes, toxic substances, or other substances regulated by federal, state, and local agencies. The City and County of San Francisco, in no way, assumes any responsibility, implied or otherwise, for any costs or liability of any kind imposed upon or voluntarily assumed by a purchaser or any other owner to clean up, or otherwise bring into compliance according to federal, state, or local environmental laws for any parcel purchased. The Tax Collector shall not have any duty to investigate the status of any parcel with regard to contamination by environmentally hazardous materials.

DO NOT bid on these properties unless you understand the issues related to contaminated properties. Prior to bidding, you should contact your attorney regarding the possible purchase of contaminated properties.


Title to “Tax Defaulted Property Subject to Power to Sale” does not pass to the purchaser until a tax deed is issued. It is advised that you DO NOT engage in any activity or make any expenditure on any property you may purchase until you have received your tax deed. This includes any attempt to collect rents on improved property and/or dispossess or in any way contact tenants. The San Francisco Treasurer and Tax Collector does not provide the purchaser with a title insurance policy and makes no representations or warranties with respect to the condition of the title.

A tax deed will be prepared by the San Francisco Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector and will be recorded approximately one month after the sale. After recordation, the deeds will be returned to the respective purchasers by the San Francisco County Assessor-Recorder’s Office. Should title to the property you purchased be recorded incorrectly due to your failure to provide the correct information, IT WILL BE YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO CORRECT THE TITLE.

The successful bidder may take possession of the property after the tax deed to purchase has been recorded. Most title companies will not insure title on properties sold at public auction for at least one (1) year after the tax deed has been recorded. Legal action to challenge a tax sale must be commenced within one (1) year of the tax recording date.


Occasionally, a property is sold at auction after redemption has been made by the current owners, or is sold in error. In these cases, a refund of the purchase price will be made with full understanding and agreement of the purchaser that the San Francisco Treasurer and Tax Collector has no further liability in the matter.

ALL SALES ARE FINAL, UNLESS, the County Board of Supervisors rules them invalid. If the sale is ruled invalid, the purchase price will be refunded.


1. How is the minimum sale price for a tax sale determined?

State law dictates that the minimum sale price for a tax-defaulted parcel offered at a public auction shall be no less than the total amount necessary to redeem the parcel plus costs.

2. Can I obtain a property available at the tax sale by paying the delinquent taxes prior to the tax sale date?

No. Legal title to tax-defaulted property subject to the tax collector’s power to sell can be obtained only by becoming the successful bidder at the county tax sale.

3. How do I locate or view a vacant property I would like to bid on at the tax sale?

While we try in every way to help prospective purchasers identify a property location, we can provide only the approximate geographic location for vacant land (which accounts for most of the property offered at our tax sale). Vacant or unimproved land has no address. Its approximate location may be determined through the use of county assessor maps. Exact boundary lines of a property can be determined only by conducting a survey of the property, initiated at the purchaser's expense. Improved properties frequently (but not always) bear a situs (street address).

4. How can I determine what use I can make of a tax sale property before I purchase it?

Consult the San Francisco Planning Department, Zoning Section for land use. Examine the county recorder’s records for any recorded easements on a property. You can also order a title search report from a local title insurance company.

5. Is the tax sale publicly advertised?

The public auction notice is published three times in successive seven-day intervals before the tax sale date in the local newspaper.

6. How will title in the deed of the purchaser be vested?

Title is vested in the name of the actual purchaser. If title is to be vested differently, we require a notarized letter from the individual for whom you are acting as an agent, stating the manner in which title is to be vested.

7. Do liens or encumbrances on a tax-defaulted property transfer to the new owner after purchase of the property at a tax sale?

Pursuant to Section 3712 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, the tax deed conveys title to the purchaser free of all encumbrances of any kind existing before the sale, except:

• Any lien for installments of taxes and special assessments, which installments will become payable upon the secured roll after the time of the sale.

• The lien for taxes or assessments or other rights of any taxing agency that does not consent to the sale under this chapter.

• Liens for special assessments levied upon the property conveyed which were, at the time of the sale, not included in the amount necessary to redeem the tax-defaulted property.

• Unaccepted, recorded, irrevocable offers of dedication of the property to the public or a public entity for a public purpose, and recorded options of any taxing agency to purchase the property or any interest therein for a public purpose.

Any federal Internal Revenue Service liens, pursuant to provisions of federal law, are not discharged by the sale, even though the tax collector has provided proper notice to the Internal Revenue Service before that date. The public auction sale of tax-defaulted properties in San Francisco will be conducted on April 21-24, 2017. Information on the bidding process will be available on this website in February or March of 2017.  Please check this website then.

8. How does a bidder pay for property offered at the tax sale?

For the online auction through, full payment must be received by Bid4Assets within three business days after the end of the sale.  Payment must be in the form of a certified check or bank wire.  Personal checks are not accepted.

9. What are the conditions of payment for a property at the tax sale?

All sales require full payment, which includes the transfer tax and recording fee. At the tax collector's discretion, purchases for more than $5,000 may be paid for on a credit payment plan, but they still require a deposit at the time of sale of 10% of the minimum bid amount or $5,000, whichever is greater. According to the Revenue and Taxation Code, the balance is payable in lawful money of the United States, negotiable paper or electronic funds transfer, as specified by the tax collector, within a period specified by the tax collector, not to exceed 90 days from the date of the auction, as a condition precedent to the transfer of title to the purchaser. If the balance due is not paid within the period specified, the deposit is forfeited, along with all rights with respect to the property and the bidder may be responsible for the tax collector’s costs to bring the property to auction (§3693.1).

10. How soon can I take possession of a property that I purchase at the tax sale?

You should consult an attorney. Generally, the successful bidder may take possession of a property after making payment in full and complying with any conditions set forth by the tax collector.

11. Can I mail in or submit a sealed bid for a property in an online auction? 

No. The internet auction requires you or your representative to submit a bid using the auction website,