Understanding Property Tax Liens And Sales
Property owners know they must pay their property taxes, but few understand what can happen if they fall behind. In such cases, Indiana law allows local governments to place a lien on the property, and then sell the property in order to collect on that lien. If you are having trouble with your property taxes or if you are interested in purchasing a property through a tax lien sale, you need the assistance of an experienced real estate lawyer.
At Adam D. Decker, Attorney at Law, P.C., attorney Adam Decker has over 25 years of experience assisting clients in Indiana with their real estate needs. He can guide you through the complex process of property tax liens. Whether you are trying to stop a sale or make a purchase, he will provide you with personalized attention to make sure you understand your legal options and the steps you must take to achieve your goals.
The Tax Deed Sale Process
Before they may hold a tax sale, the county auditor and treasurer must request that the court issue a judgment and order the sale. The auditor must provide proper notice to the owner. The property owner can stop the sale at any time by paying all outstanding taxes and fees. The treasurer then sells the property at a public auction. The highest bid must at least cover:
- The outstanding taxes and special assessments
- Current taxes and special assessments
- Penalties and costs
The county will issue the highest bidder a certificate of sale. They do not grant a deed of ownership until after the redemption period ends, as described below.
Enforcement Of A Tax Lien Certificate
In some circumstances, the county only sells the lien. Rather than selling the title to the property, the county sells the right to collect on the lien amount. The buyer may then foreclose on the lien if the property owner does not pay the past-due amounts. This is not a simple process. If you are interested in purchasing and enforcing a tax lien certificate, attorney Adam Decker will protect your legal interests. He will also explain to you the risks and rewards of such an endeavor and make sure you know what action you must take.
Can You Get Your Property Back?
Indiana does allow for a redemption period. You will have a set amount of time – often one year – to pay off your delinquent taxes and fees after the tax sale before the winning bidder receives the title. If the county determines that your home is vacant and abandoned, they will not allow you to redeem the property. In addition, certain circumstances shorten the redemption period to 120 days. If you plan to pay your debt to redeem your home, talk to attorney Adam Decker to make sure you understand the requirements and timeline for a successful redemption.