What is a Tax Sale Of Real Property?

A tax sale of real property in South Carolina is a forced sale due to the nonpayment of taxes. This sale occurs after compliance with various notice requirements to the delinquent taxpayer. Conducted as a public auction, the first bid will be in behalf of the Forfeited Land Commission. This bid equals the delinquent taxes, penalties, and costs, as well as the current year’s taxes due.

What About Right of Redemption?

The defaulting taxpayer has a right of redemption during the next 12 months following the tax sale. During this period, title to the property remains with the defaulting taxpayer. If the defaulting taxpayer redeems the property during this period, then the tax sale is cancelled. If the defaulting taxpayer does not redeem the property during this period, then title is transferred at the end of the 12 month period to the successful bidder. The successful bidder then has the right of possession, and is transferred a tax deed.

The Quiet Title Action Process

However, the tax deed carries no warranty. The purchaser at a tax sale buys the property at his or her own risk. Caveat emptor, or “let the buyer beware,” applies. Therefore, a quiet title action needs to be filed with the court by a tax deed holder to remove the “cloud on title”. A cloud is any potential claim to ownership of the property. The quiet title action is the judicial process that ensures potential interests in the property will not have a claim to the property. As a result, property purchased at a tax sale will require a quiet title action to ensure that title claims by others against the property will be unsuccessful.

The quiet title action cannot be brought until 2 years from the date of the tax sale. A quiet title action is necessary to confirm the tax deed, meaning that the court confirms the process followed by the county in selling the property. Ultimately, a quiet title action results in the purchaser at a tax sale receiving marketable title.

How We Can Help

The McCord Law Firm is experienced in quiet title actions, thus helping clients clear title to property purchased at tax sales. Contact us to protect an investment in property purchased through a tax sale.