If a homeowner is facing the prospect of losing a house because of unpaid taxes, then there are four possible ways of postponing a tax sale:

  • Appeal the judgment.
  • Seek a preliminary injunction.
  • File for bankruptcy.
  • Pay the tax debt, either in whole or through a repayment plan.

The county or city will usually negotiate with the homeowner up until the point when the property is placed in the buyer’s control, and a real estate attorney with experience in tax sale litigation may be able to help the homeowner negotiate to keep the house.

A Pennsylvania woman is faced with the prospect of losing her home over what she says was less than $7 in unpaid interest. The house was auctioned off in a tax sale in 2011, and she reportedly owed only $235 at that time. The home, which the woman still occupies after the 2004 death of her husband, was valued at $280,000 but sold for $116,000. A judge in Beaver County denied the woman’s request to reverse the sale.

According to the judge, the county’s tax bureau gave proper notification leading up to the 2011 sale date. The chief solicitor in Beaver County admitted the woman’s husband had handled the family’s tax matters prior to his death. The solicitor went on to say that the woman appeared to “have a hard time coping with the loss of her husband.”

The woman described the sale of the home as “crazy,” and she plans to appeal the recent ruling. 

Source: Philly.com, “OK to sell widow’s home over $6 bill, judge rules,” April 28, 2014