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Liens on wrong property? Can they be removed?


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A property was passed to my husband through a life estate at the death of his mother in 1996. Merced County (CA) sent us forms to sign so that no special taxes would be assessed. These were filled out and returned.

We eventually sold the home for 56k which was lower than many others in the area because the home was "unique" ;)

Several months later we received a bill for special taxes. When I spoke to the county, they said they "never received the required form" and that they had done a drive by appraisal of 83k.

They told me that because they "somehow" hadn't received the form, we would have to pay the assessment. I disputed the appraisal and sent them several bpo's to back up my claims and they never wrote to us again.

I hadn't checked our credit in several years, but while looking at it recently to obtain a new mortgage, I find that my husband has several county liens reported.

The odd thing is, we were never served for court, nor were we made aware of the placement of the liens. And the oddest thing, is that the liens are attached to his mother's old home. They were placed six years after we sold it! To be effective, aren't liens usually placed on a home that you actually own?

So my question is, is there a way to get these removed? The cr says they were placed in 2002. I'm assuming there is some legal issue that we need to address but I don't know where to start and I'm guessing that just calling the county would be futile.

Thanks for any advice.

Theresa

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Dispute them on the basis that you are not the owner of record for the property. Poperty tax liens attach to the property, not the owner. The second the deed was in the new owner's name, anything that followed became their problem. The new owners will have to deal with it and it should not be on his credit.

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Oh, and one more thing. The title company that handled the transaction was supposed to clear all liens at closing. To protect the buyer and seller from mistakes, the closing costs include "title insurance." This insurance pays for discrepancies missed by the title company. So, the current owner needs to file a claim against the title insurance and the title insurance pays the tax lien.

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Oh, and one more thing. The title company that handled the transaction was supposed to clear all liens at closing. To protect the buyer and seller from mistakes, the closing costs include "title insurance." This insurance pays for discrepancies missed by the title company. So, the current owner needs to file a claim against the title insurance and the title insurance pays the tax lien.

The title insurance typically purchased at closing only protects the lender. Unless the new owner purchased an owner's title policy, s/he might be out of luck.

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The title insurance typically purchased at closing only protects the lender. Unless the new owner purchased an owner's title policy, s/he might be out of luck.

What you say is true, but any potential owner that doesn't buy a title insurance policy is just dumb. As my first post says, the lien is on the property so as the new owner they are stuck dealing with it. They can sue the title company for "errors and omissions" or sue the prior owner for failing to disclose there was a potential title problem, but they still must be the ones to deal with the municipality.

Heck, even if the OP wanted to pay the lien, they have no legal right to as they are not the owners of record anymore.

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Oh, and one more thing. The title company that handled the transaction was supposed to clear all liens at closing. To protect the buyer and seller from mistakes, the closing costs include "title insurance." This insurance pays for discrepancies missed by the title company. So, the current owner needs to file a claim against the title insurance and the title insurance pays the tax lien.

There would have been no liens on the property when we sold to the new owners. Merced County did not place the liens until several years AFTER we sold the home to the new people. Which I find very odd.

Doesn't the county have to send you SOMETHING to let you know that they intend to place a lien?

So I'm guessing our next step is to get a copy of the lien from the county and send a copy to the CRA in the dispute?

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