Cana home be considered abandoned if taxes have been paid?

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Cana home be considered abandoned if taxes have been paid?

I found a home that has been empty for 5 years. The inside is trashed, the grass is waist tall,and  the bushes are so big and tall you can hardly see the home. I have called the public records office and the taxes have been paid but nobody can find the owner. I want to know if there is a way to take ownership?

Asked on August 2, 2011 Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, there is no way to simply take ownership. Even if a home were "abandoned," that would not let you claim it; all property in this country is owned by someone--a private person, a business, a bank, or the government. It is never simply available to take. For example: as long any mortgage and taxes are paid, it belongs to the homeowner. If  either mortgage or taxes were not paid, it could be foreclosed on, and if it were, it would then belong to the bank or the town.

What you can do: if you can find out who the owner is and contact him or her, you can certainly make them an offer for the home. If you're having trouble locating the owner, but have a name (e.g. from tax rolls), you could hire a private investigator/detective to find him or her--that's what PIs do.


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