Is it illegal for a seller to transfer property to us while having a state lien on them?

I bought a piece of property a few years back and now am trying to sell it. Days before closing, we found out the original seller has a tax lien on his name that was placed before he sold us the place.

Asked on August 13, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Louisiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It is illegal to sell the property without disclosing the lien: if the lien had been disclosed to you and you elected to buy the property anyway, that is your choice and perfectly legal. But to fail to disclose a  lien is to commit fraud and also to violate the contract of sale (which required, unless noted otherwise, clean title). You could potentially sue the seller (if it's not been too long; after some number of years, the "statute of limitations," or time period within which to sue, expires and you can't bring a legal action) for any loses or costs this causes you; you should also contact your title insurance company, which should protect you against this.


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