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Non-payment of property taxes

Vero Beach, FL |

Like many others I have an investment property (townhouse) in foreclosure. We have tried a short sale but the bank has dragged it's feet for over 18 months through three offers. It will soon be time to pay property taxes, again.

With the property already in forclosure, with the attendant distruction of my credit rating, what are the ramifications of my not paying the property taxes?

Thank you Mr. Chen. the property should be foreclosed on soon. If it has already been foreclosed on by the time the property taxes are due how would a tax certificate or deed affect me? I'm retired and have pension income and an IRA. Can those be garnished? Or would there be a lien put on the sale or estate, in case of my death, of my primary residence? Once again thank you for your help.

Attorney Answers 2


  1. Failure to pay the property taxes will have very short term consequences. The county will probably sell a tax certificate and when you are able to pay the taxes, you will have to pay it with interest. The amount of interest will depend on the interest rate bid at the tax certificate auction. After a few years the certificate holder can request issuance of a tax deed. The county the notifies the property owner and scheduled an auction of the tax deed. You should try to pay off any outstanding taxes before a tax deed sale.


  2. The issuance of a tax certificate occurs upon the owner failing to make the tax payment when due, as explained by Mr. Chen. Your question states that either you have failed to make the payment or plan on not making the upcoming 2008 payment. Once the foreclosure sale (auction) occurs, the sale is made subject to the property taxes. As far as the county is concerned, the current (new) owner will then be responsible for the payment. However, if the lender keeps the property (in other words, no one buys the property at the foreclosure auction), then they will be responsible for the taxes. If this is the case, then the lender may have a cause of action against you for any deficiency, which would include the property tax bill. Obviously, this is a complex matter and it is recommended that you consult with a real estate attorney that is well versed in foreclosures.

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