Supreme Court sides with woman after county sold her condo over tax bill, keeping all the money

gave Supreme Court Thursday unanimously ruled in favor of a 94-year-old Minneapolis woman, giving her a new chance to recover some money after her county kept the full $40,000 when it foreclosed on her condominium for a small amount of unpaid taxes. Sold on bill.

Judges ruled that Hennepin County in Minnesota violated woman Geraldine Tyler’s constitutional rights by taking her property without paying “just compensation.”

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court that “the county had the authority to sell Tyler’s home to recover unpaid property taxes. But it did so by seizing the property in excess of the amount owed.” cannot exercise limitation,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court.

Tyler, who now lives in an apartment building for the elderly, owed $2,300 in back taxes, plus a total of $15,000 in interest and penalties, when the county repossessed the title to her one-bedroom apartment in 2015. had taken The county said it did nothing to keep him. The residence and apartment were sold the following year.

Minnesota is among about a dozen states and the District of Columbia that allow local jurisdictions to keep surpluses from such transactions, according to the Pacific Legal Foundation, a nonprofit public interest law firm that advocates for property rights. Focuses on Tyler v. Tyler in the Supreme Court of Hennepin County, Minnesota.

“Today’s ruling is a major victory for property rights in the United States,” Christina Martin, a PLF attorney who argued the case before the court, said in a statement. Statement “This decision reaffirms that property rights are fundamental and do not depend solely on state law. The court’s decision makes clear that home equity theft is not only unjust, but unconstitutional.”

According to Pacific Legal, at least 8,950 homes were sold for unpaid taxes and former owners received little or nothing in those states between 2014 and 2021.

The other states are: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and South Dakota, the group said.

The court rejected the county’s arguments that Tyler could have refinanced her mortgage, signed up for a tax payment plan or sold the property to pay the tax bill, and whatever else she could have done. What was owed was left over after it was paid.

Lower courts sided with the county before the judges agreed to step in.

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