Potentially losing your home to a tax lien foreclosure is a situation in which homeowners do not want to find themselves. Many Florida homeowners may be unaware that they may find themselves at risk of losing their home to a tax lien foreclosure even if they are on time with their monthly loan payments. A tax lien foreclosure can occur if a homeowner’s loan is not escrowed to automatically pay the property taxes and property insurance, and the homeowner fails to pay the property taxes.
The Law Offices of Daryl L. Jones, P.A. is a Florida real estate law firm dedicated to ensuring that our clients understand the different ways they may risk losing their home, and how to prevent such losses. If you are unaware of what a Florida tax lien foreclosure is, it is crucial that you understand it and how you may avoid it.
Understand the Florida Tax Lien Foreclosure
Many homeowners make the mistake of assuming that as long as they are making their mortgage payments, they are safe from foreclosure. If your loan is escrowed so as to automatically pay your property taxes and property insurance, then your lender is obligated to pay your taxes and insurance each year. However, if you are unable to afford to pay your mortgage payments your lender may not pay your property taxes. Or if your mortgage loan is not escrowed, you are responsible for paying your property insurance and property taxes each year on your own. In such cases, neglecting to pay your property taxes while still paying the mortgage will not save your home.
If you fail to pay your Florida property taxes for three consecutive years, you may be at risk of a tax lien foreclosure. This type of foreclosure is initiated by the county where your property is located because they have the lien on your property once you fail to pay your taxes. If your county issues documents providing notice of a tax lien foreclosure, you may decide to use a few options to save your home.
How to Prevent a Florida Tax Lien Foreclosure
While you may feel helpless as you face the possibility of a tax lien foreclosure, there are options to help you avoid this. With the help of an experienced Florida real estate lawyer, you can choose the best option for your specific situation. Some of these options include:
Object to the Assessments
As a homeowner, it is your right to object to the property tax assessment of the amount of money you owe and reduce your property tax liability. You may claim that the property was not assessed properly or that your property is assessed at a much higher value than comparable properties in your county. If the assessment is reduced, it may result in lowered property taxes which may allow you to pay off your property tax debts more easily.
Seek an Abatement, a Deferral, or a Compromise
In Florida, you may be eligible to apply for a tax abatement that can reduce your property tax liability based on a person’s disability, age, income level, and personal status. Your county may also grant you a deferral if you are able to prove that you have suffered financial hardship. Another option is to negotiate a compromise concerning the amount of taxes you owe with the help of a real estate lawyer.
Redeem Your Home
If the tax lien foreclosure has already entered into the sale phase, your county may provide for a period of time after the sale when you may redeem your home by paying the property taxes owed, plus interest, penalties, and costs.
Set Aside a Completed Tax Sale
With the help of a Florida lawyer, you may be able to show that there is a defect in the tax lien or in the tax deed sale process of your home. This may provide grounds for setting aside the sale. Setting aside the tax deed sale means that the sale is considered invalid and you may be able to retain ownership of your home.
Contact a Florida Tax Lien Foreclosure Lawyer
There are different ways a person can lose their home to tax lien foreclosure. If you are at risk of losing your Florida home to tax lien foreclosure, it is vital that you know the options you have to prevent the sale of your property. The Law Offices of Daryl L. Jones, P.A. is a Florida law firm dedicated to helping clients keep their homes who have been issued tax lien foreclosure documents. To schedule a free initial strategy session with Attorney Daryl L. Jones, contact us here or call 305-969-3602.