Q: Legal claims for paying delinquent property taxes
I live in a property owned by my aunt that I pay her for. My aunt’s name and my mom’s is on the house. There was delinquent in taxes since 2021. I got a foreclosure notice from Saginaw county in Michigan. I went and paid all of the delinquent taxes for the property in August 2023. The aunt is now trying to force us to move out and sell the house. What rights do I have since I paid all of the delinquent property taxes? I read that since I paid it I’m entitled to claim ownership of the property since the aunt refuses to pay me back for the back taxes.
A: Any agreements concerning real estate must be in writing, according to the "Statute of Frauds." The idea is that certain types of contracts must be signed and in writing to be valid because verbal or oral agreements dealing with real estate can create confusion and therefore, verbal agreements concerning real estate generally are not valid. For your situation, you may not have a claim against the real estate, but you may have a legal action to recoup your advances for the property taxes paid as per your aunt's request under a contract theory called 'unjust enrichment."
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