If you get behind in paying your property taxes in Kentucky, you could eventually lose title to your home. On the plus side, Kentucky law gives you a good amount of time to pay off the tax debt before this happens, so that you can keep your property. (Paying off the tax debt is called “redeeming” the property.) If you aren't able to redeem, you’ll eventually have to give up ownership of your home.
There are two ways that you could potentially lose ownership of your home if you fall behind in paying your Kentucky property taxes.
The tax collector may file a lawsuit to enforce the lien (a tax-lien foreclosure). If you get behind in paying your property taxes in certain areas of Kentucky, the collector can start an action in court to enforce the tax lien that exists on the home. The collector will get a judgment from the court that orders the home to be sold to satisfy the tax debt.
The tax lien may be sold and the purchaser may then foreclose. In other areas of Kentucky, the tax lien that exists on the home will be sold. At the sale, the purchaser buys a tax lien certificate, which is called a “certificate of delinquency” in Kentucky. The person or entity that buys the certificate can later foreclose and the home will be sold to cover the unpaid debt. (Get further details on tax sales in Kentucky in What Happens If I Don't Pay Property Taxes in Kentucky?.)
In a tax lien foreclosure, you get the right to redeem the property:
After a tax lien certificate sale, the purchaser who bought the certificate cannot start an action to foreclose on your home right away. This is because there is a waiting period. This time period is called the “redemption period.”
How long is the redemption period? In Kentucky, the purchaser who bought the certificate must wait for one year before starting a foreclosure (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134.546). You can redeem the home at any time during the redemption period up until the foreclosure sale.
You might get the right to redeem after the foreclosure sale. Generally, there is no right of redemption after the foreclosure sale. However, if the person or entity that bought the home at the foreclosure sale paid less than two-thirds of the property’s appraised value then you get six months to redeem (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § § 134.546, 426.530).
In order to redeem the home, you’ll have to pay the total taxes, interest, penalties, and costs due (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § § 91.511, 134.546, 426.530).
To find the statutes that cover property tax sales in Kentucky, as well as the statutes that cover redeeming your home in Kentucky, go to § § 91.420 through 91.610 (suits by the collector) and 134.010 through 134.990 (tax lien certificate sales and foreclosures) of the Kentucky Revised Statutes.