Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Boston Globe Editorial: "Seizing home equity over unpaid taxes is unfair to homeowners"

State Representative Jeff Roy has co-sponsored legislation to avoid this and is mentioned in the article. 

"After Deborah Foss fell behind on property taxes on her two-unit house in New Bedford, the city sold her debt to an outside company, which pursued the $30,000 the retired grandmother owed.

But rather than simply recouping the debt, according to her lawyers, Foss fell victim to an overly punitive state law that cost her the entire house, valued at $241,600 — far more than was needed to settle her debt — and left her temporarily homeless last winter.

Massachusetts is one of a dozen states that allows a practice critics refer to as “home equity theft.” If a home is foreclosed on due to unpaid property taxes, the municipality — or a company that buys the tax debt — can sell the home and keep the profit, even if the sale price is more than the taxpayer owes.

The system often disproportionately and unfairly punishes elderly homeowners. Of course, people need to pay taxes. Municipalities should be allowed to recoup the costs they incur in collecting those taxes if a homeowner is delinquent, including by seizing a home."
Continue reading the Editorial by the Boston Globe (subscription may be required)

Read the PDF version of the editorial here -> 


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