Saturday, January 19, 2008

Pay Your Property Taxes & Oh, and Never Trust...

the flunkies working at the desk of the government agencies when serious legal consequences are at stake.

Saw this property tax case reported recently from the First District Appellate Court. In 2000 the property owner failed to pay her property taxes and the property was put up for auction in April, 2002 at the Cook County annual tax sale. The redemption period (the date by which a property owner can pay the taxes w/ accumulated fees and interest and retain the property) was set to expire on February 24, 2005. So cutting to the chase...

On February 18, 2005 the property owner paid the county clerk in the amount stated on the estimate provided to her by the county clerk. However, the day before the redemption period ended the clerk's office called and told the property owner that she was some $20 short on her redemption payment. So the company that bought her back taxes obviously wanted the court to issue a tax deed. It did not!

The court said that the property owner was entitled to an "equitable redemption" and gave the property owner an additional 14 days to pay the delinquency which she then did. I surely wouldn't have been happy if I had bought those taxes. And ya know when courts start using the "E" word, equity/equitable, that there ain't too much statutory support for their position.


At 8:50 AM, Blogger The Wasserlaw.Blog said...

come on peter, fair is fair. the county clerk who told the owner that there was a shortfall told her " know, ‘No problem, you can bring the money in on (the following) Monday morning," and she did. The courts gave her the benefit because she relied on the clerk telling her it would be ok to pay the difference after the due date.

the appellates twisted their way around the statute pretty good, but i would say that the decision is consistent with the case authority they cited.

as unhappy as the tax scavengers probably were, i think this was a good decision overall. (unless ut was your client, in which case i say FIE!).

for what its worth, the equity/equitable things is a pretty indicator, but i worry more when i see heavy reliance on legal maxims written in latin. you just know that the author is gonna start blowing smoke to get to the point he/she wants to get to.

keep up with this excellent blog.


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