How should I deal with my landlord’s unpaid taxes?

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How should I deal with my landlord’s unpaid taxes?

I currently live in a house that was owned by a property management company I worked for. I have lived in the house 9 months with no lease. Recently, I received a letter stating that the house was going to be levied and auctioned for unpaid property taxes from last year. If I pay the taxes of $1926, do I become the legal owner? Should I pay the taxes and, if so, any advice would be appreciated?

Asked on February 23, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

No, paying the taxes does NOT make you the legal owner: it means you will be gifting the owner with $1,926. Making a payment for someone doesn't give you ownership over their property.
You should save your money and move elsewhere: if they failed to pay the taxes once, they will likely fail again. You could end up paying their taxes going forward so they keep ownership of the property (e.g. you are building value for them) and you just keep living there--on top of paying any rent or utilities you are already paying to live there. And what if they fail to pay any mortgages? Suppose they stop maintaining or repairing the home? Will you pay their mortgage for them? Fix up their house? Etc. And if you don't have a lease, you could pay significant expenses for them and they could just decide to evict you at any time on a month's notice. This is not a stable situation for you.


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