Getting Your Home Back After a Property Tax Sale in West Virginia

Learn how to redeem your home (get it back) after a tax lien sale in West Virginia.

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.

How West Virginia Tax Lien Sales Work

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.)

Deadline to Redeem 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).

How Much You’ll Have to Pay to Redeem If Someone Buys the Lien

To redeem your home if someone buys the lien at the sale, you must pay:

  • the amount of taxes, interest, and charges due at the time of the sale plus 1% interest per month since the sale
  • all other taxes that the purchaser paid plus 1% interest per month from the payment date
  • expenses incurred to prepare a redemption notice and any related title examination, but not exceeding $300, plus 1% interest per month, and
  • certain additional costs (W. Va. Code § 11A-3-23).

How Much You’ll Have to Pay to Redeem If the State Auditor Gets the Certificate

If the state auditor gets the certificate and you want to redeem, you’ll have to pay:

  • the overdue amount of taxes, interest, and charges plus 12% interest per year from the date of certification
  • all assessed taxes for the year in which certification occurred plus 12% interest per year from the date you fell delinquent (but not for taxes that are currently due and payable), and
  • all taxes that would have been assessed since the certification (as if the certification had not occurred), except those for the current year, plus 12% interest per year (W. Va. Code § 11A-3-38).

How to Lower Your Taxes Before the Tax Lien Sale

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:

How to Find West Virginia’s Tax Sale Laws

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.

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