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Do we have to pay unpaid taxes by previous owner?

Discussion in 'Buying & Selling a Home or Residence' started by jul19, Feb 15, 2020.

  1. jul19

    jul19 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hello,

    We purchased our condo in January 2019 and six months after that we received a note from the town for unpaid taxes from 2017 up to 2019.

    The unpaid property taxes refer to several veteran and disability discounts that ended in 2017. The previous owner did not pay them and so they are passed down to us as we are now the owners of this property.

    Our mortgage lawyer did not help and did not answer my questions on the topic. Is there anything that we can do about it so we can have the previous owner contribute to the payment?

    thank you,
    julian
     
  2. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Didn't you addresses taxes in your purchase contract, during escrow, and when you got your settlement statement?

    You will, of course, have to pay the back taxes to avoid a tax lien on your property.

    Whether you can recover the money from the seller is anybody's guess.

    How much money do you owe?
     
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  3. flyingron

    flyingron Well-Known Member

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    As AJ suggests, this should have been dealt with at closing. I don't know what a "mortgage lawyer" is. If you had a lawyer handling the closing, you should ask him why he screwed up. If you have owner's title insurance (which you should have had), then you might get some relief there.
     
  4. welkin

    welkin Active Member

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    I think it is premature to say that the lawyer screwed up. Perhaps a title company screwed up.

    A title company doing a title search didn't do a thorough job if they only searched county property and court records. Those records only reflect lis pendens, judgments, liens, and deeds that are recorded on the county level.

    But if they don't check with the taxing jurisdiction (a municipality or city) since a tax lien is not placed until the taxes are 12 months in arrears, they can miss that taxes are due. They may also miss that building permits have not been closed, that no CO was issued for improvements or expansions, that there is water or sewer fees not paid, or that there are zoning violations. All of these things attach to the property.

    It is possible that the taxing jurisdiction didn't discover the tax arrears until after OP purchased the property.

    Unfortunately, OP now has to pay those arrears.
     
  5. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    In NY doesn't the lawyer perform those functions?
     
  6. welkin

    welkin Active Member

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    I don't think so. The attorney can hire a title search company the same as the mortgage lender can or the buyer can. But I don't think attorneys actually preform the search. Paying an attorney, at their rate, would be far in excess of what a search company charges.
     
  7. jul19

    jul19 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I would be curious if and how an owner's title insurance helped in my case.

    Our lawyer did address the taxes in the purchasing contract but did not mention anything about the the tax arrears.

    He knew about the short sale - I think that's what is called - between the two family members but there was no word about the back taxes.

    We are being asked to pay a one time sum of about 36,000 from 2017 to 2019, the year when we moved in.
     
  8. flyingron

    flyingron Well-Known Member

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    The lawyer screwed up.
    Did you have title insurance?
    A short sale has nothing to do with "between two family members" but involves a bank accepting a payoff less than what is owed on the sale. It has nothing, one way or another, to do with taxes (arrears or otherwise).

    Asked by whom?
     
  9. welkin

    welkin Active Member

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    In post #1,

     
  10. Foamback75

    Foamback75 New Member

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    $12K/year is just a portion of your property tax? Holy moly, how much is the place worth?
     
  11. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Well-Known Member

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    Property taxes are high in New York. Some areas $34/$1000.

    If you have a $500K house that's $17k
     
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