If you’re delinquent in paying your property taxes in West Virginia, the sheriff could sell the tax lien that exists on your home and you could eventually lose title to your property. However, you can prevent this from happening by catching up on the past-due property taxes plus various other amounts (called “redeeming” the home). If you don't redeem, you’ll lose your home permanently.
After you fall behind on your West Virginia real property taxes, the sheriff can sell the tax lien at a public auction to the highest bidder (the purchaser). The purchaser gets a certificate of sale and can eventually apply for a tax deed (title) to your home. If no one bids on the tax lien at the auction (or no one bids a sufficient amount to pay off the past–due amounts), the state auditor gets the certificate. (To get details on tax lien sales in West Virginia, see What Happens If I Don't Pay Property Taxes in West Virginia.)
After a West Virginia tax lien sale, you can protect your ownership of the property by redeeming the home at any time before the purchaser gets a tax deed. The earliest date that the purchaser can get a tax deed from the county clerk is April 1st of the second year following the sheriff’s tax lien sale (W. Va. Code § 11A-3-21).
To redeem your home if someone buys the lien at the sale, you must pay:
If the state auditor gets the certificate and you want to redeem, you’ll have to pay:
In most cases, it is better to take action prior to falling behind in taxes to try to make them more affordable. For example, you could:
To locate the statutes governing tax lien sales and your right to redeem the home afterwards in West Virginia, go to Chapter 11A, § § 11A-1-1 through 11A-4-7 of the West Virginia Code.