Is a part-owner obligated to pay property taxes?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Is a part-owner obligated to pay property taxes?

An ex-friend of mine contacted me and said that the IRS sent him a letter saying that
he owed in property taxes on a home in Lincoln Park. He claims that they are also
after me because I am a ‘part-owner’, despite the fact that I never signed any legal
paperwork stating me as a part-owner. We had a verbal conversation over the phone
that, due to his financial circumstances, I agreed to help out in part of paying some
of his bills, but he had a banker on the other line and had the bank sign me on as
part-owner without sending me any paperwork whatsoever. He says that he owes
3000 in property taxes and that he could be sent to jail if it’s not paid off
immediately and that I also could be facing jail time as well. What should I do?

Asked on March 10, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) Are you on the deed or title as an owner? If you are, bear in mind that you are entitled to half the value of the home when it is sold--and can force a sale fo the home, through legal action called an action "for partition," if you wanted. So if you are a part owner and don't want to be stuck paying your friend's taxes, you can force that the home be sold, use trhe proceeds to pay and taxes then split what is left with him.
And if you are not on the deed or title, you are NOT a part owner and have no liability for property taxes.
2) People do not go to jail for not paying property taxes. The government can take the home for unpaid taxes and sell it to satisfy those taxes...but again, you cannot be jailed for them.
3) You can't be made an owner of anything or resposible for debts against your will: the "banker" could not make you part owner without sending you paperwork and having you sign/agree to own.
What your ex-friend is telling you does not make sense. He may be scamming you. You should consult with an attorney about untangling this situation.

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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption