How Long Can You Not Pay Property Taxes Before Foreclosure?

Many Texas homeowners wonder how long their property taxes can remain delinquent before their home is foreclosed on, and, unfortunately, the answer is – there is no specific answer. The state of Texas and individual counties don’t set specific repayment deadlines for delinquent property taxes. Instead, this decision on when to begin foreclosure proceedings is left to individual taxing entities, and it’s often made on a case-by-case basis. In this blog, we’ll talk a little about what happens when property tax bills are unpaid and what you can expect if you fall behind. 

The Property Tax Lien

While the state of Texas doesn’t set a specific timeframe for foreclosure, Section 32 of the Texas Tax Code does grant a tax lien on all properties as of January 1 of each year until the property taxes are paid. That lien gives the tax assessor the ability to foreclose on a home if they don’t have reason to believe the delinquent property taxes will be repaid. Luckily, most tax assessors won’t begin foreclosure proceedings immediately. Instead, you’ll have time to arrange for repayment, but it comes at a cost. 

Penalties & Fees

Prior to foreclosure, your tax assessor will charge delinquency fees on the property tax bill, and these fees and penalties add up fast. In February, you’ll owe an additional 7% on top of the initial bill. This rate will increase by 2% each month until June. If you still haven’t repaid your property taxes by June, the tax assessor will turn over your bill to tax attorneys for collection. This results in a 15 to 20% penalty for attorney and legal fees in the month of July in addition to the continuing increase in late payment fees and interest. If a property tax bill is still unpaid by December, homeowners will likely own 45 to 50% more than their original delinquent bill. 

When Will the Tax Assessor Foreclose on My Property? 

The tax assessor can foreclose on a property any time after January 31 of the following calendar year of which the taxes are due. In most cases, this won’t happen right away. Foreclosure proceedings typically begin if there has been no good faith effort by the homeowner to make payment on the delinquent taxes after they are handed off to legal counsel in July. The tax assessor can begin foreclosure at any time, and they will only need to provide 21 day prior notice before a foreclosure sale can occur.

What Can I Do to Protect My Home From Foreclosure?

Paying your property taxes and any penalties and interest right away is the best option to protect your home from foreclosure. If you have a delinquent property tax bill, the Home Tax Solutions team can help. We offer reasonable property tax loans to get you out of debt and break the cycle of fees and interest accrued due to late property tax payment. You can get started learning more about your options right now by filling out our online application. We look forward to hearing from you soon.