If you don’t pay your property taxes in Alabama, the delinquent amount—including the past-due taxes, interest, penalties, and costs—becomes a lien on your home. If you don’t pay the amount of the lien, you could eventually lose your home through a tax lien sale process. If this happens to you in Alabama, you might be able to get your home back by reclaiming or “redeeming” it after the tax lien sale.
In Alabama, the tax lien sale consists of a public auction. The winning bidder at the auction doesn’t actually get title to your home. Instead, he or she gets a “tax lien certificate.” This gives the auction winner the right to collect the tax debt and eventually obtain title to the home if you don’t pay up. (To get details on the tax sale process in Alabama, see What Happens If I Don't Pay Property Taxes in Alabama.)
In Alabama, property purchased by the state may be redeemed at any time before the title passes out of the state or, if purchased by any other purchaser, it may be redeemed at any time within three years from the date of the sale. (Ala. Code § 40-10-120.)
The amount you’ll have to pay to redeem depends on who is the purchaser at the sale: the state or another party.
When someone other than the state is the purchaser. Effective until January 1, 2020, if someone other than the state is the winning bidder, you’ll have to pay the following amounts.
When the state is the purchaser. Effective until January 1, 2020, to redeem, you must pay:
On and after January 1, 2020, the interest rate a redemptioner pays under § 40-10-121 and § 40-10-122 is reduced from 12% to 8%. As of this date, the law will also allow a redemptioner to take possession of the property while reimbursement for allowable improvements and insurance premiums remain unpaid, as long as those costs are paid prior to January 1 of the subsequent tax year. If the redemptioner fails to do so, his or her right in the property shall be forfeited.
Even though Alabama gives you time after the tax lien sale to redeem your home, in most cases, it is better to take action before you become delinquent on your taxes to try to make them more affordable. For example, you could:
To find the statutes governing tax lien sales in Alabama, go to Title 40, Chapter 10, §§ 40-10-1 through 40-10-198 of the Alabama Code.