Losing A Home For Failing To Pay Property Taxes

Last updated on: May 24, 2022


When most new home buyers purchase their home, the bank offers to pay the property taxes for the property by taking money from the home buyer monthly, putting it in escrow and paying any necessary property taxes from this account.  In some cases, home buyers may opt to keep track of their own property taxes and personally make the required payments.  In the end however, the key fact is that the property taxes have to be paid.  Failure to pay property taxes can have devastating consequences to the homeowner, similar to those encountered if the home owner fails to make monthly mortgage payments.

Property taxes are paid to a government entity, and not to a private organization or lender.  These taxes are assessed against a home, based on the value of the property, with any applicable exemptions deducted.  When a property owner fails to pay their taxes, or when the property taxes become delinquent, the state can sell tax certificates on the property, which can ultimately lead to a tax auction sale, in order to recover the missed tax payments, interest and other charges.  Tax certificates are usually sold the year after the taxes become delinquent.  If the tax certificate is for a property on which less than 250 dollars is owed and which had a homestead exemption on the year the delinquency was assessed, the property cannot be sold at auction.

After the tax certificate is sold, a property owner has two years within which to pay the delinquent taxes and become current on the property taxes in order to avoid a sale of the property.  After two years, a person holding a tax certificate can apply for a Tax Deed Application to begin the process of foreclosure on the property, and allow for the sale of the property at auction.  The property owner is supposed to receive adequate notice of the tax sale in order to provide him or her with the opportunity to contest the sale if he or she chooses to do so.  The person may receive notice of the tax sale through personal service 20 days before the auction.  If the property does not sell at auction, the property owner does not get to keep the property; rather the deed is transferred to the tax certificate holder.

Usually when a person chooses to pay their taxes through escrow, the mortgage servicer handles the property tax payments even when there may not be enough money in the escrow account, and later any payments are charged to the property owner.  If the property owner fails to repay these funds, the servicer could use this nonpayment as a basis for foreclosure.

Contact An Experienced Attorney

If you are having financial troubles and think you may be going to foreclosure, or about to lose your home due to unpaid property taxes, you should consult with an attorney to see what options may be available to you.  Contact the North Miami foreclosure attorneys at Charlip Law Group, L.C. for a consultation on your case.

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