The US Supreme Court has agreed to decide a case that may save homeowners millions of dollars. The Court has agreed to hear the matter of Tyler v. Hennepin County. In this case, Hennepin County, Minnesota, confiscated 93-year-old Geraldine Tyler’s former home as payment for approximately $15,000 in property taxes, penalties, interest, and costs. The County sold the home for $40,000, and kept all proceeds, including the $25,000 that exceeded Tyler’s debt as a windfall for the public.
In reviewing this case, the US Supreme Court will decide 1) whether taking and selling a home to satisfy a debt to the government, and keeping the surplus value as a windfall, violates the Takings Clause; and 2) whether the forfeiture of property worth far more than needed to satisfy a debt plus, interest, penalties, and costs, is a fine within the meaning of the Eighth Amendment.
Oral argument is schedule for April 26, 2023. So you can expect that by July 2023, the Court will have a definitive answer as to whether the government can steal money left over after a tax foreclosure sale. This has implications for property owners in at least a dozen states, including New Jersey and New York, where a person can lose their home and its value if they fail to pay a few hundred dollars in taxes or public utilities.
* This post is for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.
Christopher T. Campbell is an experienced New Jersey attorney focused on assisting homeowners with asset and surplus fund recovery. If you have questions regarding asset recovery, a foreclosure, or a sheriff sale, we encourage you to contact us today.