If my husband and I own a house and my mother’s name is on the deed, is she responsible for paying her share of the property taxes?

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If my husband and I own a house and my mother’s name is on the deed, is she responsible for paying her share of the property taxes?

What if she doesn’t? I filed for homestead exemption with my mother listed as 1/3 owner. The property taxes are due soon. She received a bill at my home.

Asked on December 18, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The agreement you had with your mother should control.  This means that if your mother's name is on the deed because she co-signed a document for you, but she doesn't occupy or otherwise use the house, then most likely, the agreement was that you and your husband would be responsible for any amounts due on the house, including the taxes.   If your agreement with your mom was that the three of you would split cost equally, then that should control. 
However, most taxing authorities are not aware of agreements between the parties.  This means they will seek a 100% of the funds from whomever they can get to pay the taxes.  That could be one of you or all three of you.  If your mom has to pay 100% of the taxes for a house that the three of you agreed she would not occupy or otherwise be liable for, then she could potentially sue you and your husband to recoup her losses.  Alternatively, you could sue your mom if you had to pay the taxes she was obligated to pay if you paid a 100% of the tax bill and it was ya'll's agreement that she would share in the liability.
If no one pays the taxes or if the taxes are not paid in full, then then taxing authorities can seek enforcement of the tax bill by requesting permission from the court to sell the house to satisfy any remaining amounts due. 
I really suggest that you and your husband visit with your mom to lay out a plan for payment.  Losing your house at a tax sell is not worth the risk.


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