Am I liable for back taxes on a housethat Iam buying?

UPDATED: Aug 23, 2011

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Am I liable for back taxes on a housethat Iam buying?

I am buying this house on a lease agreement; I pay the monthly payments. The house was supposed to be up to date on all payments before I took over. I gave them $15,000 down. Now they tell me that they owe back taxes and the house is in default unless I come up with another $2900. The way I see it they are in default and our contract should be void. We love the house but we can’t keep paying for their mistakes. How long before I get foreclosed on and have to move after it goes into default?

Asked on August 23, 2011 California


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If you are purchasing this house in California under a written lease option agreement, you need to carefully read the written document in that it sets forth the terms and obligations owed to you as the potential buyer by the seller and vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law on the subject of payment of over due property taxes.

In most real estate transactions, the owner of the property to be sold pays all property taxes for the parcel up through the date of close of escrow. If your agreement with the sellers that they were to keep all payments on the home current including property taxes prior to your purchase, you are under no obligation to pay for the sellers' unpaid property taxes for the home. 

My concern is that you gave the sellers $15,000 down and they are delinquent on their property taxes. If they are delinquent on their property taxes, I have concerns that you may not get back your $15,000 deposit.

Good luck.


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