Report: Some lose homes over as little as $400 in tax liens
The elderly and other vulnerable homeowners are losing their homes because they owe as little as a few hundred dollars in back taxes, according to a report from the National Consumer Law Center released today. Outdated state laws allow big banks and other investors to reap windfall profits by buying the houses for a pittance and reselling them, the report says. Local governments can seize and sell a home if the owner falls behind on property taxes and fees. The process helps governments make ends meet at a time when low property values and the weak economy are squeezing tax revenue. But tax debts as small as $400 can cause people to lose their homes because of arcane laws and misinformation among consumers, says John Rao, the report's author and an attorney with NCLC. The consequences are "devastating for individuals, families and communities," Rao says. It's difficult to put a figure on the number of homes sold in tax lien sales because the information is spread among thousands of local governments, Rao says. A JPMorgan unit estimated in 2009 that about $5 billion worth of tax liens are sold to investors each year. Rao says he believes the actual number is much higher. The NCLC report is the first comprehensive study of each state's policies and procedures for tax lien sales. An early copy was obtained by The Associated Press, which has the full story here.
comments powered by Disqus
Real estate recap: DPW reorganization recommendations coming … Capital Region home sales post 5% gain in February … WWII bombing range near Hammond at center of new lawsuit
Office Parks Get a Makeover
What Families Are Spending on Prom Night