Can someone obtain ownership real propertyby paying the back taxes owed on it?

UPDATED: Sep 18, 2011

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Sep 18, 2011Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can someone obtain ownership real propertyby paying the back taxes owed on it?

There is a piece of property in my area that may have several years of back taxes. I was told you may be able to buy it for the back taxes owed to the county.

Asked on September 18, 2011 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You are partialy correct. If and when the land is foreclosed upon--or taken--by the municipality for nonpayment of taxes, then you may have the opportunity to acquire it by paying off the back taxes. However, until and unless the town or city acquires the land, paying the back taxes just does a favor for the current owner; you can't acquire something that the municipality does not own to give.

You could certainly approach the current owner and see if (s)he will sell you the land at a discount from the current market value, if you then take responsibility for the back taxes.

The first step in either case is to go by the county clerk's office and check on the status and ownership of the land--you want to see if it has been foreclosed (if not, you can approach your municipality's tax office and see if perhaps they will take action, especially if you're willing to pay of the taxes and acquire the land) and also who the owner is, so you can possibly  buy it from him or her.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption