U.S. Supreme Court Rules on Property Tax Foreclosure Across Country
Foreclosure filings in Ohio and elsewhere are unfortunately up, with more than 35,000 nationwide filed in one month, including auctions, bank repossessions, and default notices. Sadly, this recent increase indicates a growing trend. Ohio in particular came in as one of the states with the highest overall foreclosure rates, with one in every 2,478 housing units being foreclosed on and almost 280 lender-repossessed properties through completed foreclosures. Some of the highest foreclosure rates in metropolitan areas with greater than 1 million included cities in Ohio, with lenders repossessing thousands of properties there.
In May, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an important ruling concerning tax deed foreclosure, which allows local governments to sell tax-delinquent properties at auction, and essentially held that, in some circumstances, they are violating the homeowner’s rights by selling their homes for back taxes and pocketing the difference (in other words, the value of the property seized is greater than the tax debt owed).
What The Court Held
The Court essentially found that:
- In these circumstances, the homeowner suffers a financial harm following the local government’s refusal to return to them the surplus equity of their home
- The homeowner has sufficiently alleged a violation of the Takings Clause of the constitution in these circumstances
- The homeowner does not relinquish any interest in the surplus equity in their home simply due to failing to pay property taxes
As a result of this case, the Court has made it clear that any state tax foreclosure process must provide an opportunity for homeowners to recover any excess in value of their property that exists beyond unpaid taxes and costs at the conclusion of the foreclosure. As a result, states like Ohio must amend their laws to provide this opportunity – i.e. a mechanism to return excess amounts to the property owner.
If You Are Facing Foreclosure, Contact Our Columbus, Ohio Foreclosure Defense Attorneys
The prospect of losing your home can be beyond devastating, and leave you in a state of emotional distress. But it is important to note that lenders frequently move forward on foreclosures even when they don’t have the law on their side, and they move fast.
The Columbus foreclosure defense attorneys of Kohl & Cook are prepared to provide you with the very best defense to stop the foreclosure in its tracks. Contact our attorneys today for a free consultation and to find out more about your options and our services.