What Happens If I Don't Pay Property Taxes in Connecticut

If you default on property taxes on your Connecticut home, you could lose it through a tax sale or a tax foreclosure.

If you don’t pay the real property taxes on your Connecticut home, you could lose it through a tax sale or a tax foreclosure. Find out below what notice you’ll get before your home is sold at a tax sale in Connecticut, how the tax sale process works, how a tax foreclosure works, and whether you can get your home back after the sale or foreclosure.

Connecticut Property Tax Sales

If you fall behind in your real property taxes in Connecticut, the overdue amount (including taxes, interest, fees, and costs resulting from the delinquency) becomes a lien on your home. After the past-due amount becomes a lien, the tax collector can sell your home at a public auction (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 12-157). (If you are struggling to pay your property taxes, learn about your  options to avoid a tax sale.)

Notice Prior to the Tax Sale

Under Connecticut law, the tax collector must give you three written notices before the sale, as well as post, file, and publish notice of the sale before it takes place.

Notices you’ll receive before the tax sale.  The collector will send you:

  • a notice by certified mail, not more than 12 weeks and no less than nine weeks before the sale
  • a second notice by certified mail, not more than eight weeks nor less than five weeks before the sale, and
  • a third notice by certified mail, not more than four weeks nor less than two weeks before the sale (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 12-157).

Notice of the sale must also be published and posted.  The collector must also:

  • post the notice on a signpost in the town where your home is located or on an exterior location near the town clerk’s office
  • file the notice in the town clerk’s office (the clerk will record the notice in the land records), and
  • publish the notice in the newspaper (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 12-157).

The Tax Sale

At the tax sale, the collector sells your home to the highest bidder. If no one bids on your home at the auction (or the bid is not high enough to cover the amounts owed), the collector sells the property to the municipality. Two weeks after the sale, the high bidder or the municipality receives a deed to your home. The unrecorded deed remains at the town clerk’s office for six months, subject to your right of redemption (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 12-157).

Your Right to Get the Home Back After the Sale in Connecticut

In Connecticut, you can generally get your home back within six months after the sale (though the time frame may vary, depending on your particular circumstances) by paying the amount of taxes, interest, and charges owed plus interest on the purchase price (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 12-157). This is called redeeming the home. (Learn more in Getting Your Home Back After a Property Tax Sale in Connecticut.)

Notice about redeeming the home.  Within 60 days after the sale, the collector must send you a notice by certified mail that (among other things):

  • provides the date the redemption period expires, and
  • lets you know that you’ll lose the home if you don’t redeem by the stated date.

The collector must also publish the notice in the newspaper (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 12-157).

Tax Foreclosures in Connecticut

If you don’t pay your real property taxes, you might face foreclosure instead of a tax sale.

Tax foreclosures.  In Connecticut, the tax collector of the municipality may file a lawsuit in court to foreclose the tax lien. The court will then typically enter a judgment in which it orders the sale of your home, as well as limits the time for redemption (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 12-181).

Summary foreclosures.  In some cases, the tax collector may initiate a summary proceeding to foreclose (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 12-191). This can happen if the fair market value of your home is less than the total amount you owe (including tax liens and other encumbrances) and is not more than $100,000 (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 12-182).

The redemption period with this type of foreclosure ends on the last day of the fourth month after the month in which the collector filed the petition for summary foreclosure in court (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 12-183).

How to Find Connecticut’s Tax Sale Laws

To find the statutes on taxes, tax sales, and tax foreclosures in Connecticut, go to Title 12, Chapter 204, § § 12-122 through 12-170 and Chapter 205, § § 12-171 through 12-195h.

You can find the General Statutes of Connecticut on the Connecticut General Assembly’s website at  www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/titles.htm. (If you need help finding the statutes, see Nolo’s  Legal Research FAQs & Basic Info  area.)

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