Getting Your Home Back After a Property Tax Sale in Ohio

If you become delinquent in paying your real property taxes in Ohio, you might lose your home after a tax lien sale or through a tax foreclosure.

When you don’t pay your property taxes, Ohio law allows the county treasurer to collect the delinquent amount by selling tax-lien certificates. If a tax lien sale happens—and you don’t get caught up on the overdue amounts—the person or entity that bought the certificate may eventually foreclose on your home. Alternatively, Ohio law allows the county treasurer to choose to foreclose directly and, in the process, sell the home at a foreclosure sale to cover your tax debt.

Fortunately, in both a foreclosure following a tax lien sale and in a tax foreclosure, you'll have the opportunity to save your home by getting current on the past-due taxes, plus interest and various costs, before the sale is finalized.

Ohio Tax Liens

If you don’t pay your property taxes in Ohio, the delinquent amount becomes a lien on your home. Once your home is subject to a tax lien, you could eventually lose your home through a tax lien sale or foreclosure if you don’t pay the delinquent amounts. (Learn about your options to avoid a tax sale if you can’t keep up with the property taxes.)

How Ohio Tax Lien Sales and Tax Foreclosures Work

When you don’t pay your Ohio property taxes, the county treasurer can:

  • sell the tax lien that exists on your home to a third party or
  • initiate a foreclosure of your home in court.

(To get further details on tax lien sales and tax foreclosures in Ohio, see What Happens If I Don't Pay Property Taxes in Ohio.)

How to Redeem the Property After a Tax Lien Sale

In the case of a tax lien sale, the person or entity that buys the lien may eventually foreclose on your home if you don’t get caught up on the delinquent amounts.

How Long You Get to Redeem

Following a tax lien sale, a one-year period must expire before the purchaser can start a foreclosure to get ownership of your property. (Ohio Rev. Code § 5721.37). During this time, you can get caught up on the delinquent taxes, plus various other amounts, and prevent the purchaser from foreclosing. (Paying off the debt is called “redeeming” the property.)

Even if the foreclosure has started, you get the right to redeem up until the court confirms the foreclosure sale. (Ohio Rev. Code § 5721.38).

How Much It Costs to Redeem

The redemption price depends on whether you redeem before or after the purchaser starts the foreclosure.

Cost to redeem before a foreclosure starts. To redeem before the purchaser starts a foreclosure, you must pay an amount equal to the certificate price (or prices, if there is more than one tax certificate on your property), which includes taxes and fees plus interest. (Ohio Rev. Code § 5721.30, § 5721.38).

Cost to redeem after a foreclosure starts. To redeem after the purchaser starts the foreclosure, you must pay the certificate price plus 18% interest per year, attorneys' fees, costs, and other fees. (Ohio Rev. Code § 5721.38).

Getting Caught Up With Delinquent Taxes Using a Payment Plan

If you can’t afford to pay the redemption amount all at once, you can enter into a payment plan to get caught up on the delinquent amounts. (Ohio Rev. Code § 5721.38).

Redeeming the Property in a Tax Foreclosure

If the county treasurer forecloses instead of selling the lien, a court will eventually issue a judgment and sell your home at a public auction to a new owner.

How Long You Get to Redeem

If the county treasurer starts a foreclosure rather than selling the tax lien, you get up until the court confirms the sale to redeem the property. (Ohio Rev. Code § 5721.25). You don’t get a redemption period after the court confirms the sale.

How Much It Costs to Redeem

The redemption requirements depend on whether you redeem before or after a foreclosure starts.

How much it costs to redeem before the county starts the foreclosure. To redeem before the county initiates the foreclosure, you must pay the overdue amount of taxes, assessments, charges, penalties, and interest. (Ohio Rev. Code § 5721.18, § 5721.25).

How much it costs to redeem after the county starts the foreclosure. To redeem once the foreclosure begins, you’ll have to pay the amount stated above and you must also show that the property is in compliance with all applicable zoning regulations, land-use restrictions, and building, health, and safety codes. (Ohio Rev. Code § 5721.25).

Getting Caught Up With a Payment Plan

If you haven't previously defaulted on a payment plan for delinquent property taxes, you may enter into a contract with the treasurer to pay off the debt. (Ohio Rev. Code § 5721.25).

Avoiding a Tax Lien

Even though you’ll get some time to redeem your Ohio home before you permanently lose ownership, in most cases, it's better to take action earlier to try to make your taxes more affordable. For instance, before you fall behind in your taxes, you could:

  • look into whether you meet the criteria for a property tax abatement, or
  • challenge the taxable value of your home, if you think it's incorrect.

Getting Help

If you want more information about property tax laws and redemption laws in Ohio, consider talking to a foreclosure lawyer, a real estate lawyer, or a tax lawyer.

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