What is a Tax Lien ?

by Edward Lederman 02/02/2020

Photo by Gerd Altmann via Pixabay
 

There are many fees and costs you’ll encounter as a homeowner. From closing costs that are due when first purchasing your home to your mortgage payment and property taxes, keeping up with these expenses is essential. But if you’re a homeowner that didn’t pay your property taxes, you’re at risk of losing your home in a tax sale. Keep reading to learn more about property tax liens and what to do if you have lost your property in this type of sale.

What is a Tax Lien?

If you fail to pay your property taxes or other municipal fees associated with your property like sewage or water bills, any past-due amount that you owe can become a lien on your home. Each state has its own laws regarding property tax liens but generally, if you have a lien on your home, the local government can sell the property to collect any monies owed.

Can I Save My Home After a Tax Sale?

Tax sales are a serious matter but there may be a few different options available to you to help save your home. It is possible to reclaim your home following a tax deed sale by setting aside the sale or redeeming it. Many jurisdictions offer a right of redemption that is available after the tax sale. TO redeem your property, you are required to reimburse the total amount paid at the sale, plus any interest to the purchaser. This must be done within a certain time frame, called the “redemption period,” which typically lasts from 1 to 3 years. Additionally, you may be able to redeem the property before the start of a sale.

If you are unable to redeem the property, you may be able to invalidate or set aside the tax sale. This can be accomplished in a few ways, including:

  • Providing proof that there were defects in the tax lien
  • Identifying defects in the tax sale process
  • Proof that the tax in question was not owed or had been paid in full
  • Offering a good reason as to why the neglected fees were not paid

Should I Hire an Attorney?

If you are in a situation where a sale is imminent, or you’re exploring your legal options following a tax lien sale, you should consider working with an experienced attorney. Seeking legal counsel from a knowledgeable foreclosure attorney, tax attorney or real estate attorney may be able to stop or reverse a tax lien sale and help you to maintain ownership of your home.

About the Author
Author

Edward Lederman

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