The property that joins mine is abandoned and the taxes have not been paid in atleast 15 years. We’ve tried everything to find the owner but have had no luck, nobody can find a current address. Can i pay the back taxes and take possession of the property?

the tax office hasn’t been able to contact this person since before 2004. We are
leaving our current rental due to flooding and mold. We have two small kids and
are in a hurry to find out what our options are. How can we obtain this lot if we
can’t find the owner?

Asked on June 5, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, you can't just pay the back taxes and take possession: the law does not let person B take over person A's property by paying their debts including tax debts. However, if the county were to foreclose on the property, as they can, for the unpaid taxes, then you may be able to purchase the property at the tax/sheriff's sale for, essentially, payment of the taxes. The problem is, you need the county to first act and take over the property, going through due process (e.g. announcing/publicizing the action) before you can acquire it.

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