Generally, Old Republic will not insure a property if there has been a tax sale in the last 20 years absent certain factors being present. If there is an Owner’s Policy for the current owner, and that Owner’s Policy does not contain an exception for tax sale matters, ORT can insure with an indemnity letter from the current prior policy Company subject to underwriting approval as to our proposed insured amount vs. the prior owner policy.
If we are able to confirm that the taxpayer that lost the property in the tax sale and all creditors that had an interest in the property were served by personal service in the tax sale proceeding, we may insure. Personal service in our purview is either service on the individual sworn to by the sheriff, or certified return receipt signed by the tax payer (not a renter or roommate) and not unclaimed. If it was by publication, as most tax sales are, we will not insure.
If there is a later quiet title action to address the tax sale, and there is personal service in the quiet title action upon the taxpayer and all creditors or a Court makes a determination that proper due diligence was taken to achieve service on the taxpayer, all creditors, their successors and assigns, then we may insure.
If we can secure a Quit Claim Deed to the current owner from the taxpayer that lost the property in the tax sale, we may insure. This will be subject to an exception for any unreleased liens or encumbrances unless we are satisfied that there was proper service of process upon any lienholders in the tax sale. Otherwise, we would need releases of those as well.
Absent these scenarios, we will not insure a property if there has been a tax sale in chain in the last 20 years.
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