Are you currently facing foreclosure, and you need help with a property tax foreclosure defense? Do you need a tax foreclosure attorney, but you aren’t sure how to find one?
If this sounds like something you are going through, you aren’t alone. In 2021, one in every 4,000 homes had a foreclosure filing in Pennsylvania. There are ways to fight for your home, so long as you don’t wait too long.
Partnering with a reputable tax foreclosure attorney to fight on your behalf is one way to combat the foreclosure process. This brief home foreclosure defense guide will talk about what to expect in the foreclosure process and who you can contact to review your case for free.
What Is a Tax Lien Foreclosure?
When someone doesn’t pay their property taxes on their home, a property tax lien is placed on the house. In traditional foreclosures, the house is sold to pay off the outstanding debt, but the process is slightly different in states like Pennsylvania. Instead of auctioning the actual property, the tax lien amount is auctioned off.
Unfortunately, there is generally no right to redeem your home after a tax sale in Pennsylvania. There are certain circumstances where you can redeem your house.
County commissioners have the discretion to allow homeowners to get their property back if they pay all taxes with interest and costs due. If the county purchased the house at a tax sale, commissioners could only enter into a compromise agreement with the owner if the court agreed. Vacant properties are not eligible for redemption, but some counties allow a nine-month redemption for occupied properties.
Upset Tax Sales in Philadelphia
If your home is tax-delinquent in Pennsylvania, your home could be sold by the state. Before the state can sell your home, you must receive a certified letter 30-days before the sale from the tax claim bureau.
Ten days before the sale, you must receive a notice from them via first-class mail. Per the law, the tax claim bureau must make reasonable attempts to contact you about the sale. When your home is sold, it is subject to existing liens such as judgments, mortgages, and other liens.
Publication and Posting
The bureau must advertise a notice of this pending sale at least 30 days before the scheduled sale date. The notice must also be placed on the property at least ten days before the sale. If you do not receive any of these notifications, you should reach out to an attorney for a property tax foreclosure defense.
How to Stop the Tax Sale in Pennsylvania
There are a few ways you can stop the sale of your home. For example, you can pay the total amounts due, including any additional charges, interest, or taxes. You also have the option to create a payment plan with the bureau. The first payment must be at least 25% of the tax debt, and you must make three other payments within one year of the agreement.
Judicial Tax Sales in Pennsylvania
If your home doesn’t sell at the tax sale, the bureau has the right to sell the property at a private sale. They can also petition the court for an order to sell the house at a judicial tax sale. Unlike an upset tax sale, homes sold at the Pennsylvania judicial tax sale are sold clear and free of any liens.
The Judicial Tax Sale Process
The court will set a date for the judicial tax sale after the tax claim bureau files its petition. This sale is conducted as an auction. If the tax claim bureau files its petition three or more months after the upset sale date, the bureau must advertise the sale in a newspaper at least one month before the sale. If the petition is filed within three months, they don’t need to advertise the sale in the newspapers.
What Happens if the Home Doesn’t Sell?
If the property doesn’t sell at the judicial tax sale, the property will go into a repository of unsold properties. The tax bureau may sell the home without further court approval or public publications.
Invalidating an Upset Tax Sale
In some instances, you may be able to invalidate a tax sale. After the sale completes, the tax bureau must file a report with the court. After the court confirms the report, you can file an objection within 30 days if proper procedures are not followed. For example, if you weren’t given adequate notice of the sale, you can file an objection.
If the court agrees with your evidence, they can invalidate the sale. The rules and procedures for filing exceptions or objections with the court can be challenging, so you may want to reach out to an attorney for further guidance.
What Is a Tax Foreclosure Attorney?
A tax foreclosure attorney is a lawyer with expertise in foreclosure law and other applicable tax laws. As mentioned above, filing objections with the court can become complicated and challenging.
It is also a time-consuming task that you must dedicate yourself to. When you employ the help of a reputable tax foreclosure attorney, they will make sure to create the best property tax foreclosure defense.
When Should I Hire a Foreclosure Attorney?
If you think you have a defense against the foreclosure and have every intention of keeping your home, you will likely need a skilled lawyer at your side. There are some defenses that your attorney can use, such as saying the tax claim bureau did not follow proper procedures.
Other potential home foreclosure defenses:
- The tax claim bureau made an error with your account
- The foreclosing party can prove they own your loan
Each defense is different, and every situation comes with complicated nuances that can possibly make or break your case. You will have to raise your defense in court, and you must file your own lawsuit if the foreclosure is nonjudicial.
If your foreclosure was judicial, you would need to respond to the foreclosure lawsuit. Regardless of how your foreclosure happened, you must make some type of legal argument.
This involves filing documents with the court, navigating court rules, and submitting the right paperwork. Unless you are well versed in the foreclosure process, you may want to reach out to an attorney for more information.
If you’ve applied for loss mitigation, but the servicer is dual tracking, you will need to deal with that violation before the sale happens. Dual tracking occurs when you’re in the process of finding an alternative to the foreclosure, but the servicer advances your foreclosure. It is tough to get your house back after a foreclosure tax sale, so you will want to get ahead of this problem before it’s too late.
Why Should I Hire a Tax Foreclosure Attorney?
Hiring a tax foreclosure attorney to handle your case on your behalf comes with a multitude of benefits. For example, these attorneys offer you objectivity.
This means they don’t carry the same emotions you do to the case. Losing your home is a traumatic experience, and it can be hard to make sound decisions when dealing with the possibility of losing shelter.
Can Meet Deadlines
It is not uncommon for court dates or deadlines to change. When going through a lawsuit, you will need to make time to go to the court and deal with your case. You may also need to submit certain documents to ensure the process goes smoothly.
If you are already a busy person with family and other obligations, you may not have the time or capacity to handle meeting court deadlines. Tax foreclosure attorneys have the resources and time to allocate towards your case. They don’t have to worry about competing timelines or obligations, because they can have their staff help bring your case to completion.
Not Having an Attorney Can Cost You More
Contrary to popular belief, it will cost you less to hire an attorney than handling a case on your own. If you are unsure of how to handle going to court and filing paperwork, you could miss deadlines or submit the wrong documents.
These major mistakes can cost you a lot of money and your home. There are many attorneys who don’t collect money from you unless you win your case. You may be able to claim legal fees in your case, which can make or save you a lot of money.
Create the Best Property Tax Foreclosure Defense
No one likes the idea of losing their home, especially if you have children or other family members who depend on you. Fighting the foreclosure process does not need to be something you have to do on your own.
Instead, you can partner with a reputable attorney to create the best property tax foreclosure defense on your behalf. If you or someone you love is going through the foreclosure process in Pennsylvania, contact us now. We offer free no-obligation case evaluations, and we are prepared to answer any questions or concerns you have about the process.