Under South Carolina law, you could lose your home to a delinquent tax sale if you fail to keep up with the property taxes. You do, however, get the opportunity to "redeem" your home, by paying off the tax debt within a certain period of time after the sale. If you don't redeem your home within the redemption period, you'll lose your property.
In South Carolina, the tax collector can sell your home at an auction if you become delinquent on your property taxes. The winning bidder at a tax sale can eventually get ownership of your home if you don’t get caught up on the past-due amounts. (To get details on the delinquent tax sale process in South Carolina, see What Happens If I Don't Pay Property Taxes in South Carolina.)
Under South Carolina law, you get a certain amount of time (called a redemption period) to pay off the tax debt after the sale before the winning bidder from the auction gets title to your home. This is called “redeeming” the property.
In South Carolina, you get 12 months after the sale date to redeem (S.C. Code Ann. § 12-51-90). If you don’t redeem within this time frame, then the property will be tax titled to the highest bidder. This means the high bidder gets a deed (a tax deed) to your home.
To redeem your home, you must pay the tax collector:
How much interest you’ll have to pay. The amount of interest you’ll have to pay depends on when you redeem the home.
Limitation on interest owed. The amount of interest due cannot exceed the bid amount submitted by the Forfeited Land Commission. (The Forfeited Land Commission has the opening bid at the auction.) Specifically, this means the interest cannot exceed an amount equal to all delinquent taxes, penalties, assessments, and costs plus the current year’s taxes that are due (S.C. Code Ann. § § 12-51-90, 12-51-55).
You must pay rent to redeem a mobile home. If your mobile home is sold at a tax sale, you must also pay rent to the winning bidder in order to redeem it (S.C. Code Ann. § 12-51-96).
Between 45 days and 20 days before the end of the redemption period, the tax collector must mail you a notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, which lets you know that the end of your redemption period is approaching (S.C. Code Ann. § 12-51-120).
Even though South Carolina gives you a redemption period after a tax sale during which you can save your home, it is typically more effective to take action before you fall behind, in order to try to make your taxes more affordable.
For instance, you may be able to challenge the taxable value of your home if you think it is incorrect (too high). (Learn more about the procedures for challenging your property tax assessment in South Carolina.)
To find the statutes that cover delinquent tax sales in South Carolina, go to Title 12, Chapter 51 of the South Carolina Code of Laws.