The County has had a policy of using foreclosure to attempt to collect property tax debts that are over 10 years old and are therefore barred from collection by the statute of limitations. However, the statute of limitations is not an automatic bar. A debtor must know that the statute exists and assert it as a defense to the foreclosure in writing. If the debtor does not know to do that, the court deems that defense waived, and the foreclosure may proceed. Hence, the homeowners most vulnerable to the county’s previous practice were lower income consumers who were unaware of their rights and unable to hire counsel.
OneMECK has been working with the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy to advocate for a change in the County’s policy. Good news! We have been informed by the County Attorney that they have suspended enforced collections of property tax debts over 10 years old.