Cleveland, MS asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Mississippi

Q: I own the land, but a house was already there when I purchased the land. Who owns the house?

I purchased a property in the land tax sale. I have paid all the taxes up and have my deed. There is a house on the property that was not assessed during the land sale. The people who live there have a deed for the vacant lot next to mine, but the house they live in is on the land that I purchased. Is the house mine?

1 Lawyer Answer
Anthony M. Avery
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  • Real Estate Law Lawyer
  • Knoxville, TN

A: Probably not. They probably own both tracts by adverse possession under color of title. You should have performed a title search prior to purchase. And tax sales are notorious for sometimes conveying nothing, as there are no real covenants of title. With tax sales, you always need a competent attorney. Here these possessors may have lost the land from non-payment of taxes, and now you must eject them, unless a tax statute puts you in possession. Actions for Ejectment are expensive and very difficult.

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