United States Statutes at Large/Volume 4/18th Congress/1st Session/Chapter 195

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May 26, 1824.
Chap. CXCV.—An Act supplementary to the act “to incorporate the inhabitants of the city of Washington,” passed the fifteenth day of May, one thousand eight hundred and twenty, and for other purposes.[1]

Part of the act of May 15, 1820, ch. 104, repealed.Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That so much of the act, entitled “An act to incorporate the inhabitants of the city of Washington, and to repeal all acts heretofore passed for that purpose,” passed May fifteenth, one thousand eight hundred and twenty, as is inconsistent with the provisions of this act, be, and the same is hereby, repealed.

Public notice of the time and place of sale of all real property for taxes due the corporation of Washington to be given.Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That public notice of the time and place of the sale of all real property, for taxes due the corporation of the city of Washington, shall be given in all cases hereafter, by advertisement, inserted in some newspaper published in the said city, once in each week, for at least twelve successive weeks, in which advertisement shall be stated the number of the square or squares, the number of the lot or lots, (if the square has been divided into lots,) the name or names of the person or persons to whom the same may be assesses on the books of the corporation at the time of such advertisement, the amount of the tax due on each square or lot, the period for which the same shall be due, and the aggregate amount of taxes due on all real property assessed in the name of the same person or persons; but, where a whole square is assessed to the same person or persons, although divided into lots, it may be assessed and advertised, as if the same was not divided. And no sale of real property, for taxes, hereafter made, shall be impaired, or void, by reason of such property not being assessed, or advertised, in the name or names of the lawful owner or owners thereof, provided the same shall be advertised as above directed, or by reason of the amount of taxes due thereon not being correctly stated.[2]

Where sales shall not have been according to law for taxes due the said corporation, on application of the purchaser, such sum shall be refunded him as he paid on said purchase.Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That in all cases of sales of real property, for taxes due the said corporation, where such sale shall not have been made according to law, and void, it shall be lawful for the said corporation, on the application of the purchaser, or other person entitled under him, to refund and pay to such person or persons, the amount paid by him or them, on account of such purchase; and, also, the subsequent taxes accrued and paid on the said property, and to re-assess the amount of taxes so refunded, on the property on which the same shall have accrued, which shall be collected in the manner as provided by law for the collection of other taxes at any time after the first day of January next, after the same shall be so re-assessed.

Where there are a number of lots assessed to the same person, the corporation is authorized to sell one or more of them for the taxes due on the whole.Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That it shall be lawful for the said corporation, where there shall be a number of lots assessed to the same person or persons, to sell one, or more, of such lots, for the taxes and expenses due on the whole; and, also, to provide for the sale of any part of a lot, for the taxes and expenses due on the said lot, or other lots assessed to the same person, as may appear expedient according to such rules and regulations as the said corporation may prescribe.

In case the death, &c. of any commissioner of election, &c.Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That, in case of the death, resignation, or inability to serve, of any commissioner of election, it shall be lawful for the mayor, or in case of his absence, or inability to perform that duty, for the register of the city, to make an appointment, in writing, to fill any such vacancy, which appointment shall be returned to the register, with the return of such election.

Proprietors allowed the right of redemption.Sec. 6. And be it further enacted, That the proprietor or proprietors of lots which may be sold under the provisions of this act, shall be allowed the right of redemption, in the same manner, and according to the like restrictions, contained in the act to which this is a supplement.

Public notice of the time and place of sale of any real property, chargeable with taxes, to be given.Sec. 7. And be it further enacted, That public notice of the time and place of sale, of any real property chargeable with taxes, in Georgetown or Alexandria, in all cases hereafter, shall be given, once in each week, for twelve successive weeks, in some one newspaper printed in each of said places, and in the National Intelligencer, in which shall be stated the number of the lot or lots, or parts thereof, intended to be sold, and the value of the assessment, and the amount of the taxes due and owing thereon.

In case the owner, &c. does not pay the amount of taxes on lots assessed, before the day of sale, so many as may be sufficient to discharge said amount shall be sold.Sec. 8. And be it further enacted, That if, before the day of sale, advertised as aforesaid, the owner, his agent, or attorney, shall not pay the amount of taxes, with all costs thereon assessed, said lots, or so many as may be sufficient to discharge the same, shall be sold for cash, and to the highest bidder paying therefor; a certificate from the proper officer shall be issued, setting forth that he is the purchaser, and the amount paid by him; and if, at the expiration of twelve months from the day of sale, the owner shall not appear, and pay to the officer who sold the same, the mayor, or the purchaser, the amount of the purchase money, and cost, and taxes, accruing subsequent to the sale, and ten per centum interest per annum on the purchase money, it shall and may be lawful for a title, in fee simple, at the expiration of said time, to be made to the purchaser:Proviso. Provided, That no sale of real estate shall be made but where the owner or tenant of the property has not sufficient personal estate out of which to enforce a collection of the debt due, and where he has personal property, it shall be lawful to collect said taxes by distress and sale thereof.

All species of property, by law taxable, to be assessed.Sec. 9. And be it further enacted, That, on or before the first day of April next, and every five years thereafter, each of the corporations of Washington, Georgetown, and Alexandria, shall cause three respectable freeholders, resident in said city and towns, respectively, being previously sworn, to assess and value, and make return of all and every species of property by law taxable, in said corporations; and, in making their said valuations, they shall determine it agreeably to what they believe it to be worth, in cash, at the time of the valuation.

Course to be pursued where taxes have fallen due and remain unpaid.
Proviso.
Sec. 10. And be it further enacted, That, where any taxes have fallen due, and yet remain unpaid, or where any real estate has been sold by the corporation of Georgetown or Alexandria, which sale from any defect of the proceeding in relation thereto, has been declared, or is considered void, said corporation may proceed, and are hereby authorized, to collect said taxes by sale of the real estate, liable, agreeably to the provisions of this act, in relation to other cases of collecting taxes hereafter to fall due: Provided, That, where any person, without notice of the outstanding taxes, has made a bona fide purchase from the legal owner of any real estate, previous to the fifteenth day of May, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-four, said real estate, so acquired, shall not be liable for the taxes due and owing previous to said purchase.

All titles to property conveyed shall be by deed from the mayor.Sec. 11. And be it further enacted, That all titles to property conveyed, as aforesaid, on sales for taxes, made in either of said places, shall be by deed from the mayor, under the seal of the corporation; which said conveyance shall be effectual, in law, to convey the title, the requisition of this act having been complied with.

Amount over the taxes, &c. due upon any lot sold for taxes, to be paid to the owner.Sec. 12. And be it further enacted, That, on any lot, or lots, or part of a lot, liable for taxes, as aforesaid, being sold, the amount, over and above the tax, cost, and charges, due upon the same, shall be paid over, on application, to the owner of said property.

Where the payment of any taxes shall be enforced against any tenant, it shall not be lawful for the owner of said property to recover of him any rent therefor.Sec. 13. And be it further enacted, That, where the payment of any taxes shall be made or enforced against any tenant, it shall not be lawful for the owner of said property, so made liable for the taxes, to recover of the tenant any rent for the property; but the same shall remain in his possession a lien for the debt, until such time as the rent accruing shall have discharged the same; and the said tenant shall be entitled to charge twenty-five per centum against the landlord, on the amount of the taxes so paid or enforced against him, except where he may have been previously in arrears for his rent.

Nuisances to be removed.Sec. 14. And be it further enacted, That, in all cases of any nuisance affecting, in the opinion of the board of health, the healthiness of the city of Washington, or inhabitants contiguous thereto, which may exist on any lot belonging to the United States, it shall be lawful to have the same removed, in the same manner, and under the same rules and regulations, that nuisances on private property are removed; and the expense of such removal or correction shall be defrayed out of any moneys in the hands of the city commissioner, for the sale of the public property in said city.

Approved, May 26, 1824.


  1. Notes of the acts relating to the corporation of Washington, vol. ii. 254721.

    Decisions of the Supreme Court on the provisions of the act incorporating the city of Washington and authorizing the laying of taxes, vol. ii. 721.

  2. See the case of Ronkendorf v. Taylor’s lessee, 4 Peters, 349.