What are a joint owner’s rights if the other owner is not paying the property taxes as agreed?

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What are a joint owner’s rights if the other owner is not paying the property taxes as agreed?

My brother/wife purchased a home but couldn’t make the balloon payment when it was due so my grandparents paid the home off, removing my brother/wife and putting themselves on the deed. 7 years ago my grandma put my brother/wife back on the deed so all 4 are listed as owners. My brother’s wife lives in the house and isn’t paying the property taxes and they are in danger of losing it. Is there any way my grandparents can take the house back and remove them from the deed before the house is lost? My grandparents have paid the taxes for 20 years but stopped paying them 7 years ago. I have POA.

Asked on November 14, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If a joint owner pays the property taxes for the parcel in whole where the other owner has failed to make his or her share of the property tax payments, the one owner who makes the entire payment has an equitable lien on the property for reimbursement of the taxes paid beyond what he or she is responsible for to eventually be paid by the non-paying owner.

If you have a power of attorney regarding your grandparents, you can pay the property taxes on the home and record an equitable lien on it for the other non-paying owners to reimburse you the sahre of the taxes you owe. It seems a shame to lose the home over property tax payments not being made where there is no mortgage on it.

I recommend that you consult with a real estate attorney about your situation. Perhaps a partion action may be the next step where the home is sold or one owner buys out the others?


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