New law designed to protect homeowners who fall behind on property taxes

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INDIANAPOLIS (WOWO): If you fall behind on your property taxes, a new law is designed to keep you from getting swindled.

If you don’t pay your property taxes, the county auctions off your house. If it sells for more than your bill, you have a year to pay the taxes and keep the house, but even if you don’t, you’re supposed to get the extra money. The state sued three title companies last month for buying properties from the owners for small amounts, then redeeming the tax bill and pocketing surplus checks the owners didn’t realize they had coming.

Legislation co-authored by Representatives John L. Price (R-Greenwood) and Cherrish Pryor (D-Indianapolis) prevents that by requiring buyers of a home in tax-sale limbo to pay not only the taxes but the surplus. That guarantees the money will go to the homeowner. Companies might still make that deal if they have a genuine interest in the property, but Pryor says the bill makes certain homeowners don’t lose out just because they don’t know any better.

The bill becomes law immediately upon Governor Pence’s signature.

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