I’ve been hearing rumors lately about lawyers telling people they can’t quiet title on their tax sale property until at least 10 years after the auction, 10 years after the tax deed, or never. Take your pick. They are all wrong.
I can’t imagine why anyone would say “never.” That’s just completely not true.
The ten year urban legend comes from lawyers remembering the 10 year number from law school. If there is a boundary line dispute or a title issue, and one party has possessed the property and paid the taxes for 10 years,they can quiet the title. That is because the 10 year statute of limitations has expired.
Tax sales have a special and different rule. It is called the Short Statute of Limitations, because it is only 3 years. So, let’s start with that.
If a tax sale is void, it can be “cured” by 3 years of adverse possession after the tax deed date. That is when someone can quiet the title. That’s similar to the 10 year general rule that lawyers remember from school, but shorter.
If the tax sale is valid, then we have to think about redemption rights, not statutes of limitations.
When will all the redemption rights have expired? Some experts say 3 years after the tax deed, no matter what. An investor can surrender their certificate and get a tax deed three years after the auction. So, those experts think you can quiet title 6 years after the auction.
Some experts say that as long as the investor is exclusively and peaceably in possession on the tax deed date, then all redemption rights are over when the tax deed is issued, and title can be quieted on that date.
All of those opinions are related to something called “judicial redemption rights.” The law is in flux right now for a variety of reasons related to new interpretations of old statutes, and new statutes that might have changed things.
I, personally, would file quiet title as soon as I got my tax deed, assuming I was exclusively and peaceably in possession on that date.