After buying at auction, can you sue previous owner for their share of property taxes?

We bought our first condo on the steps this past month. The previous owner did not pay 2011 property taxes. We promptly paid them before they were sold to avoid high penalties. The situation is unique where the previous owner has a tenant in the unit who is Section 8. The previous owner has appliances in there which appear he can ask for (namely, fridge and wash/dryer). He spoke with the tenant and said he would work something out with us. Question, can I propose that “lets call the appliances a wash after I paid the taxes”? ie…I won’t sue you for your pro rata share if you let the appliance go.

It really sucks, but it is true that a appliances are personal property of the trustor. Afterall, they obviously did not pay the mortgage, property taxes or insurance but did collect the rent. The fact the guy even asks for the appliances proves that he is a scum bag. Becuase you bought the property as-is whithout warranty as to condition, possession, encumerances or liens, you are on the hook for the property taxes.
I had a similar situation, not section 8, but the guy did the same thing and asked for his appliances. I reminded him that he legally owed the security deposit to the tenants. In the end, he left the appliances and I am stuck with the security deposits. Even though I am not liable for the security deposits, I am not willing to put the burden on the tenants.

I rarely get involved with tenants - but I thought the new owner WAS responsible for deposits - at least in some jurisdictions. Am I totally wrong?

I don’t believe the new owner is responsible (unless some local law specifically says otherwise). The lease was wiped out by the foreclosure sale, and the law provides a remedy for the tenant to get their deposit back (plus a fairly substantial penalty in at least some states) from the prior owner, regardless of whether or not you give them cash-for-keys of a similar amount. I usually point the tenant towards small claim court to start the process of getting their deposit back. There is nothing in the law that I know of that lets the prior owner off the hook.

If i was to buy a redeemable deed to a property in GA for back taxes and bid up amount and the owner has a yrs worth of redemption time, what legal grounds do I have if someone(owner most likely) strips the entire house before I can get me hands on the house?

Hi William D, I am not that familiar with Georgia but I do not believe you have any legal grounds for damages done during the redemption period. Even if you did have legal grounds for damages I am not sure that you would be successful in collecting. You would want to consult with an attorney that is familiar with the laws in GA.

Are you sure there is a year redemption? The few Ga. (Atlanta) properties we bought a few years ago worked like Ca. Sales were final = at least hose on the CH steps. What a zoo. One thing that does seem collectible, in most states are delinq. HOA dues. Of course, that would be a case where they weren’t knocked out by a bk. and the debtor has assets. That right to collect would belong to the HOA since the fcl. buyer isn’t liable for them.

Wow–When you buy a house at auction you become liable for everything that is owed. That’s why you want to think and research in advance. You can try to take the prior owner to small claims court but it is not likely you will win. The people lost their home and any equity they may have had in the home. Unless your a idiot your going to come out ahead, so let the poor people go and get on with it. As far as the question about stripping the house there is likley nothing you can do. That is how this business works sometimes. The best thing to do is show some heart and compassion and the most sucessful way to get people out is to offer them some money to leave, so they can get resettled. This is how the banks handle it and it works better then trying to get blood out of a turnip!!!

Hi MikeT, I just looked up the laws in Georgia and there is no redemption period.

Katherine, thanks for your condescending remarks. Not one thing you posted was helpful!!! Real asset to this forum. Thanks to everyone else though.

Turns out we never heard from the guy, so looks like we’ll be keeping the appliances. Tenant is great, rent is great, fell into an awesome situation. Just bought another condo where the previous owner made reference that he upgraded all the appliances … we worked out a deal that he can stay there rent free for 60 days and in exchange he’ll leave the unit as is. Win/win.

Kevin, I find it interesting that you were so inclined to remark on Katherine’s comments yet you followed her condescending advice! Its all about incentive!

I didn’t follow her advice, it was common sense. Thanks. She went on for a paragraph, little to do with my question. “You can try to take the prior owner to small claims court but it is not likely you will win.” Why wouldn’t I win. Law doesn’t allow for it? That is what I’m looking for. Instead she talked about stuff that any normal person would contemplate.

I bought a foreclosure and the previous owners not only stole all the copper piping out of the house. They drilled holes in every drain line - sinks, toilets bath tub and shower. Drilled holes in the roof and destroyed the HVAC system. There should be a law against this type of deliberate damage where you can sue them. Regardless if they had to pay $10 per month for life. This is crazy. Take the appliances who cares but to take the time to drill holes and cut slits in the air ducts. Come on…

Doing this kind of damage to a property is considered “waste” under the law and in California creates an exception to the a foreclosed loan being “non-recourse”. Unfortunately I think it is the lender, not the trustee sale buyer, that would be entitled to seek the deficiency. If you really want to go after the folks, you could probably but the rights to the note from the lender and pursue it. I haven’t seen it tried before so you could be throwing good money after bad, but theoretically it should work. Of course even if you win, you’ll still have to collect.