Under Georgia law, on failure to pay property taxes, a local government may acquire a lien on the subject real estate. The lien can be foreclosed upon and the taxpayer/landowner can lose title. The foreclosure of the lien, however, is subject to the taxpayer's right of redemption. This means the taxpayer gets a second chance to pay -- with penalties of course. In the opinion in Community Renewal and Redemption v. Nix, Case No. S10A1727 (Jan. 10, 2011), the Court held that the right of redemption must be exercised within twelve months of the tax sale of the property or within 12 months after the sale and the foreclosure of the right of redemption by the buyer. If the delinquent taxpayer or a successor in interest fails to tender the required amount to the buyer at the tax sale within the required time, the right of redemption is lost. The new owners then acquire an indefeasible title to the subject property.
The delinquent taxpayer's successor in interest lost the land in Community Renewal and Redemption v. Nix, because it apparently failed to tender the correct amount of the redemption price (the unpaid taxes plus a statutory penalty) to the correct owner and tendered it to the wrong party. Community Renewal and Redemption, LLC bought the property from the delinquent taxpayer under a quitclaim deed, but then lost its title by failing to strictly adhere to the steps for redeeming it.
Accordingly, if a property owner is subject to a tax lien, the owner needs to take care that he or she takes the correct legal steps under Georgia Property Law to tender the unpaid taxes to the correct party and within the statutory deadlines.
Teague & Zeliff, LLC
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A Blog about Real Estate, How it Can Be Damaged, and Disputes Over its Transfer
This blog is a personal blog written to discuss legal issues affecting Georgia property, and how it is damaged, transferred, and fought over. I write this partly to keep abreast of the law, and partly to offer a forum for my writing. In order to find content, I often analyze Georgia Supreme Court decisions. I try to update this blog as I can, but writing is a time consuming process.