Miami, FL asked in Foreclosure for Maryland

Q: Hi I got a letter foreclosing on tax lien last Friday What exactly do I need to file fore a special appearance?

I was told I need to file a motion to stay in the home while doing this. What kind of motion. I just need to know exactly what to file. My condo was paid in full it was a property tax lien

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1 Lawyer Answer
Cedulie Renee Laumann
Cedulie Renee Laumann
  • Crownsville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: To get specific advice on a particular tax sale, you should promptly reach out to an attorney to discuss the specifics of your case, including where exactly it is in the tax sale process.

Tax sale foreclosures go through a process. Typically annual tax bills come out in July and all taxes need to be paid up no later than December 31 of that year. If taxes are still owed at the start of the next calendar year, the county will put up property for tax sale. Each county varies a bit, but typically tax sales are advertised for several weeks, then held in May or June. People can bid on the property at tax sale and become the "owner" of a tax sale certificate. The person who bought the tax sale certificate can later, after a waiting period of several months, file suit to foreclose the right of redemption. Usually at this point of filing suit the taxes have been unpaid for well over a year and sometimes for several years.

Before the lawsuit to foreclose can be filed, the person who bought at tax sale (the certificate holder) must mail two separate notice letters to the record owner. After an owner gets one of these notice letters they still have the right to redeem the property by paying the back taxes and interest (and any allowable expenses). No courts are involved in this stage - the record owner only needs to go to the county and pay everything owed by the statute (note that after a certain period the purchaser's expenses need to be paid as well).

The tax sale purchaser must wait two months after sending their first notice letter before they can go to court to get full rights to the property. This is done by filing a lawsuit. Even at this stage (when a lawsuit is first filed) the original record owner can redeem the property by paying the accumulated taxes, interest, attorney fees and expenses.

In the court case, the court requires that notice be published in a newspaper, posted on the property, and served on the record owner. At some point, at least a month after notice has been posted on the property and in the newspaper, the tax sale purchaser may ask the court to issue final judgment. If all the prerequisites were met in the court case, the Court will usually sign a final order, foreclosing (stopping) the right to redeem the property and transferring full ownership to the tax sale purchaser as the new owner. At this very last stage of the process is the only time the original owner would need to get the court's permission to stay in the property. However, if the foreclosure has finished, there may not be a legal basis for staying in the property.

It is unclear what "letter" your post refers to. This could be a notice letter, the complaint or perhaps a court order. Again, you are highly encouraged to reach out to an attorney as soon as reasonably possible to review any documentation you received, to understand where you are in the process and outline what options may (or may not) be available.

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