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94-year-old wins SCOTUS case that could change property rights nationwide

May 26

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A 94-year old woman has won a landmark Supreme Court case that could change property rights nationwide. The justices ruled unanimously in Geraldine Tyler’s favor after she sued a Minnesota county government for selling her home over unpaid taxes and pocketing the profits. 

Hennepin County sold Tyler’s $40,000 condominium in 2015 because she had an unpaid tax bill of $2,300, which soared to $15,000 with interest and penalties. The county argued that the 25,000 dollars left over from the sale was spent on expenses, including paying leftover HOA fees and the cost of getting the condo ready to sell. 

Chief Justice John Roberts said even though the county had the power to sell the condo to recover the property taxes, it did not have the right to confiscate more property than was due, and therefore, violated the Fifth Amendment

Tyler’s lawyers say she fell behind on property taxes after moving to assisted living. The case will now go to trial in a lower court so Tyler can try to get back the money she says is owed. The amount owed would be the fair market value of her property, minus her tax debt. 

Tyler’s is being backed by the Pacific Legal Foundation. According to the organization’s data, 11 states foreclosed and sold 8,950 properties from 2014 to 2021. Available data for 6,200 of those homes showed that when the government sold them, they collectively received $860 million more than the taxes that were owed. PLF describes it as home equity theft. It’s an issue that has unified many organizations, including PLF and AARP.

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A 94-YEAR OLD WOMAN HAS WON A LANDMARK SUPREME COURT CASE – THAT COULD CHANGE PROPERTY RIGHTS NATIONWIDE. THE JUSTICES RULED UNANIMOUSLY IN GERALDINE TYLER’S FAVOR – AFTER SHE SUED A MINNESOTA COUNTY GOVERNMENT FOR SELLING HER HOME OVER UNPAID TAXES AND POCKETING THE PROFITS. 

 

HENNEPIN COUNTY SOLD TYLER’S 40-THOUSAND DOLLAR CONDOMINIUM IN 2015 BECAUSE SHE HAD AN UNPAID TAX BILL OF 23-HUNDRED DOLLARS, WHICH SOARED TO 15-THOUSAND DOLLARS WITH INTEREST AND PENALTIES. THE COUNTY ARGUED THAT THE 25-THOUSAND DOLLARS LEFT OVER FROM THE SALE WAS SPENT ON THEIR EXPENSES, INCLUDING PAYING LEFTOVER HOA FEES AND THE COST OF GETTING THE CONDO READY TO SELL. 

 

THE CHIEF JUSTICE SAID EVEN THOUGH THE COUNTY HAD THE POWER TO SELL THE CONDO TO RECOVER THE PROPERTY TAXES, IT DID NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO CONFISCATE MORE PROPERTY THAN WAS DUE, AND THEREFORE, VIOLATED THE 5TH AMENDMENT. 

 

TYLER’S LAWYERS SAY SHE FELL BEHIND ON PROPERTY TAXES AFTER MOVING TO ASSISTED LIVING. THE CASE WILL NOW GO TO TRIAL IN A LOWER COURT SO MS. TYLER CAN TRY TO GET BACK THE MONEY SHE SAYS IS OWED. WHICH WOULD BE THE FAIR MARKET VALUE OF HER PROPERTY, MINUS HER TAX DEBT. 

 

TYLER’S IS BEING BACKED BY THE PACIFIC LEGAL FOUNDATION (PLF). ACCORDING TO THE ORGANIZATION’S DATA, 11 STATES FORECLOSED AND SOLD 8,950 PROPERTIES FROM 2014 TO 2021. AVAILABLE DATA FOR 62-HUNDRED OF THOSE HOMES SHOWED THAT WHEN THE GOVERNMENT SOLD THEM, THEY COLLECTIVELY RECEIVED 860-MILLION DOLLARS MORE THAN THE TAXES THAT WERE OWED. PLF DESCRIBES IT AS HOME EQUITY THEFT. IT’S AN ISSUE THAT HAS UNIFIED MANY ORGANIZATIONS, INCLUDING PLF AND AARP.

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