Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas will conduct the first sale in more than two years of delinquent Cook County property taxes on Friday, Nov. 5.

About $163.4 million in unpaid 2018 property taxes (that were to be paid in 2019) is due on 36,000 homes, businesses and land.

Less than $1,000 is owed on 11,744 properties in Chicago and 7,700 properties in suburban Cook County.

Pappas is sending owners of those properties a certified mailing informing them that their unpaid taxes are scheduled to be sold, which would put a lien against their property. It is the first step in a process that can end with the loss of a property.

Owners can avoid the tax sale by paying the delinquent taxes and interest before the sale begins. Owners can check if their taxes are delinquent online at the treasurer’s website. They can search by address or by property index number.

“About 75 percent of the taxes offered for sale are for properties in majority Black and Latino communities,” Pappas said. “That’s why Black and Latino Houses Matter, my program to help homeowners find refunds and apply for tax exemptions, is so important.”

Owners may be unaware the taxes on their properties are headed to the tax sale because the U.S. Postal Service has returned bills and subsequent notices on 17,702 properties.

Also, as many as 207 seniors may be missing a senior exemption, and 184 seniors may be eligible for a senior freeze–two exemptions that could reduce their tax bill. “Everyone should visit cookcountytreasurer.com for information,” Pappas said.

The annual tax sale is traditionally conducted 13 months after the tax bill due date, but the sale was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pappas plans to conduct the sale for 2019 unpaid taxes in May and for the 2020 taxes in November 2022.

For more information or to make a payment, visit cookcountytreasurer.com.