Is it illegal for a seller to transfer property to us while having a state lien on them?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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Is it illegal for a seller to transfer property to us while having a state lien on them?

I bought a piece of property a few years back and now am trying to sell it. Days before closing, we found out the original seller has a tax lien on his name that was placed before he sold us the place.

Asked on August 13, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Louisiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

It is illegal to sell the property without disclosing the lien: if the lien had been disclosed to you and you elected to buy the property anyway, that is your choice and perfectly legal. But to fail to disclose a  lien is to commit fraud and also to violate the contract of sale (which required, unless noted otherwise, clean title). You could potentially sue the seller (if it's not been too long; after some number of years, the "statute of limitations," or time period within which to sue, expires and you can't bring a legal action) for any loses or costs this causes you; you should also contact your title insurance company, which should protect you against this.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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