Cook County is looking at possibly reforms to scavenger tax sales and the procedures to obtaining tax deeds. This article (courtesy of WBEZ Chicago) touches on the issues but overlooks some more simple changes to making scavenger tax sales more palatable to private investors.
The primary problem is that properties in certain neighborhoods are so over-assessed that no one bids on them at the annual sale and even scavenger sale bidders realize it is not worth proceeding to deed when they have to pay all of the subsequent years' taxes in full. One possible solution is to change the requirement for payment of subsequent years' taxes in full (for non-governmental tax buyers) and/or shortening the redemption period for scavenger sales on certain categories of properties. This would make it both cheaper and quicker to get these properties back on the tax rolls and benefit the municipalities and surrounding neighborhoods.