2003 -- H 6412 SUBSTITUTE A AS AMENDED
RELATING TO TAX SALES
Introduced By: Representative William San Bento
Date Introduced: May 06, 2003
It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
SECTION 1. Sections 44-9-3, 44-9-4, 44-9-5, 44-9-6, 44-9-9, 44-9-11, 44-9-12, 44-9-13,
44-9-19, 44-9-21, 44-9-24, 44-9-25, 44-9-35 and 44-9-43 of the General Laws in Chapter 44-9
entitled "Tax Sales" are hereby amended to read as follows:
44-9-3. Lien of fire district and lighting district taxes. -- 44-9-3.
Lien of fire district, lighting
district and other district taxes. -- 44-9-3. Lien of fire
district, lighting district,
water district, sewer district and road district. - - All taxes ,charges, assessments, assessed
any person in any fire district, water district, sewer district, road
lighting district within this state, pursuant to the act of incorporation of the district, for either real
or personal estate, shall constitute a lien upon that person's real estate in the district for the space
three (3) years after the assessment, and, if the real estate is not
alienated, then until the
taxes or fees are collected.
Powers of fire district and lighting district collectors. -- 44-9-4.
fire district, lighting district and other collectors. -- The collector of taxes of every fire
water district, sewer district, road district and
of every lighting
district shall have all the
powers and privileges and be subject to all the duties and liabilities which are conferred or
imposed upon collectors of taxes in towns.
Agreements between towns and fire districts. 44-9-5. Agreements
towns and fire districts, water districts, sewer districts, road districts, lighting districts, and
lien priorities. -- Towns and fire districts , water districts, sewer districts, road districts and
lighting districts are authorized to make agreements with respect to the parcel of property upon
which they respectively own tax liens in respect to the disposition of the liens, of the parcel of
property subject to the liens, and of the proceeds of a tax sale of the property.
44-9-6. Primary liability of life estate. -- In case of a life estate, the interest of the tenant
life shall first be liable for the tax
. , and the remainderman, if
assessed, shall be secondarily
44-9-9. Notice and advertisement of sale. -- Before the sale the collector shall give
notice of the time and place of sale posted in two (2) or more public places in the town at least
three (3) weeks before the time of the sale. The collector shall also cause to be published in some
public newspaper published in the town, if there is one, and if there is no public newspaper
published in the town, then in some public newspaper published in the county, a statement
concerning the time and place of sale, the real estate liable for payment of taxes, and the name of
the person against whom the real estate was assessed, with a list of the parcel or parcels to be
offered for sale by the recorded plat and lot number, or by assessors' plat and lot number, or by
other adequate description. The newspaper notice giving this full description shall be inserted,
once, at least three (3) weeks prior to the date of the advertised sale, and thereafter a weekly
formal legal notice, between the date of original advertisement and the time of sale specified in
the notice, shall be inserted, stating that the collector will sell at public auction real estate thus
advertised. The subsequent formal legal notice shall include reference to the original
advertisement which gave full description. Whenever a advertised tax sale is continued or
postponed, a formal legal notice giving the new date shall be inserted at least one week prior to
the new date. Any notice of sale shall inform any party entitled to notice of its right of
redemption and shall explain to such party the manner in which said right shall be exercised and
inform said party of the penalties and forfeiture that may occur if the right of redemption is not
44-9-11. Notice to mortgagees and other parties in interest. -- (a) In case the collector
shall advertise for sale any property, real, personal, or mixed, in which any person other than the
person to whom the tax is assessed has an interest, it shall not be necessary for the collector to
notify the interested party, except for the following interested parties, provided that their interest
was of record at least ninety (90) days prior to the date set for the sale: the present owner of
record, mortgagees of record and mortgage assignees of record, former fee holders whose right to
redeem has not been foreclosed, holders of tax title, federal agencies having a recorded lien on the
subject property, holders of life estates of record, and vested remainder whose identity can be
ascertained from an examination of the land or probate records of the municipality conducting the
sale, and/or their assignees of record who shall be notified by the collector either by registered or
certified mail sent postpaid not less than twenty (20) days before the date of sale or any
adjournment of the sale, to an agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of
process, or to the address of the party in interest set forth in the recorded mortgage document or
the recorded assignment, or to the last known address of the party in interest, but no notice of
adjournments shall be necessary other than the announcement made at the sale. The posting and
publication of the notice of the time and place of sale in the manner provided by section 44-9-9
shall be deemed sufficient notice to all other interested parties. This provision shall apply to all
taxes levied prior to and subsequent to 1896.
(b) Only a person or entity failing to receive notice in accordance with the provisions of
this section and sections 44-9-9 and 44-9-10 shall be entitled to raise the issue of lack of notice or
defective notice to void the tax sale. The right to notice shall be personal to each party entitled to
it and shall not be asserted on behalf of another party in interest. If there is a defect in notice, the
tax sale shall be void only as to the party deprived of adequate notice, but shall be valid as to all
other parties in interest who received proper notice of the tax sale.
(c) Once a petition is filed under section 44-9-25, and any party in interest entitled to
notice of the tax sale receives actual notice of the pendency of the petition to foreclose, the party
must raise the notice defense in accordance with the provisions of section 44-9-31 or be estopped
from alleging lack of notice in any action to vacate a final decree entered in accordance with
44-9-12. Collector's deed -- Rights conveyed to purchaser -- Recording. -- (a) The
collector shall execute and deliver to the purchaser a deed of the land, stating the cause of sale,
the price for which the land was sold, the places where the notices were posted, the name of the
newspaper in which the advertisement of the sale was published, and the residence of the grantee.
The deed shall convey the land to the purchaser, subject to the right of redemption. The conveyed
title shall, until redemption or until the right of redemption is foreclosed, be held as security for
the repayment of the purchase price, with all intervening costs, terms imposed for redemption,
and charges, with interest, and the premises conveyed, both before and after either redemption or
foreclosure, shall also be subject to and have the benefit of all easements and restrictions lawfully
existing in, upon, or over the land or appurtenant to the land. The deed is not valid unless recorded
within sixty (60) days after the sale. If recorded it is prima facie evidence of all facts essential to the
validity of the title conveyed by the deed. It shall be the duty of the collector to record the deed
within sixty (60) days of the sale and to forward said deed promptly to the tax sale purchaser.
The applicable recording fee shall be paid by the redeeming party. Except as provided, no sale
shall give to the purchaser any right to either the possession, or the rents, or profits of the land
until the expiration of one year after the date of the sale, nor shall any sale obviate or transfer
any responsibility of an owner of property to comply with any statute of this state or ordinance
of any municipality governing the use, occupancy, or maintenance or conveyance of property
until the right of redemption is foreclosed.
(b) This tax title purchaser shall not be liable for any enforcement or penalties arising
from violations of environmental or minimum housing standards prior to the expiration of one (1)
year from the date of the tax sale, except for violations which are the result of intentional acts by
the tax sale purchaser or his or her agents.
(b)(c) Upon the expiration of one year after the date of the
sale, the tax title holder shall
be jointly and severally liable with the owner for all responsibility and liability for the property
and shall be responsible to comply with any statute of this state or ordinance of any municipality
governing the use, occupancy, or maintenance or conveyance of the property even prior to the
right of redemption being foreclosed. Nothing in this section shall be construed, however, to
confer any liability upon a city or town which receives tax title as a result of any bids being made
for the land offered for sale at an amount equal to the tax and charges.
44-9-13. Entry by collector not required -- Recording of tax sale list. -- (a) No entry
upon the land by the collector shall be deemed necessary, but the collector in all cases of sales of
real estate shall deliver to the clerk's or recorder's office a list of those properties sold at tax sale
which the clerk or recorder shall record or post in the land evidence records for their city or town
forty-eight (48) hours five (5) business days after the sale of
real estate. The recorded or
list shall include the assessed owner's name
, the address of the
property, and the assessor's
plat and lot, and the recorded or posted list shall be conclusive evidence of the facts stated in the
(b) No properties shall be sold at tax sale to any bidder who is delinquent in the paying
of taxes or is an officer, more than ten percent (10%) shareholder or owner of a partnership or
corporation or limited liability company that is delinquent in the paying of taxes on any property
located within the city or town in which the tax sale is held, unless the bidder has agreed to a
written payment plan approved by the collector and is current on any and all payments required
by the plan. The collector may require a bidder or an authorized officer or partner of the bidder to
execute an affidavit that the bidder is qualified under this provision.
44-9-19. Right of redemption from town. – (a) Any person having an interest in land
sold for nonpayment of taxes, or his or her heirs or assigns, at any time prior to the filing of a
petition for foreclosure under section 44-9-25, if the land has been purchased by the town and has
not been assigned, may redeem the land by paying or tendering to the treasurer the sum for which
the real estate was purchased, plus a penalty which shall be ten percent (10%) of the purchase
price if redeemed within six (6) months after the date of the collector’s sale, and an additional one
percent (1%) of the purchase price for each succeeding month, together with all charges lawfully added
for intervening taxes, which have been paid to the municipality, plus interest thereon at a rate of
one percent (1%) per month, and expenses assessed subsequently to the collector’s sale.
(b) The certificate of redemption shall be recorded by the treasurer on the land records
within twenty (20) days after the entire redemption amount has been paid to the municipality.
The recording costs for the certificate of redemption shall be paid by the redeeming party.
(c) The right of redemption may be exercised only by those entitled to notice of the sale
pursuant to sections 44-9-10 and 44-9-11.
44-9-21. Redemption from purchaser other than town. -- Any person may redeem by
paying or tendering to a purchaser, other than the town, his or her legal representatives, or
assigns, or to the person to whom an assignment of a tax title has been made by the town, at any
time prior to the filing of the petition for foreclosure, in the case of a purchaser the original sum
and any intervening taxes which have been paid to the municipality plus interest thereon at the
rate of one (1%) per month and costs paid by him or her, plus a penalty as provided in section 44-
9-19, or in the case of an assignee of a tax title from a town, the amount stated in the instrument
of assignment, plus the above-mentioned penalty. He or she may also redeem the land by paying
or tendering to the treasurer the sum which he or she would be required to pay to the purchaser or
to the assignee of a tax title, in which case the town treasurer shall be constituted the agent of the
purchaser or assignee. The right of redemption may be exercised only by those entitled to notice
of the sale pursuant to sections 44-9-10 and 44-9-11.
44-9-24. Title absolute after foreclosure of redemption -- Jurisdiction of
proceedings. -- The title conveyed by a tax collector's deed shall be absolute after foreclosure of
the right of redemption by decree of the superior court as provided in this chapter.
Notwithstanding the rules of civil procedure or the provisions of chapter 21 of title 9, no decree
shall be vacated except in a separate action instituted within one year following entry of the
decree and in no event for any reason, later than one year following the entry of decree.
Furthermore, the action to vacate shall only be instituted for inadequacy of notice amounting to a
denial of due process or for the invalidity of the tax sale. The superior court shall have exclusive
jurisdiction of the foreclosure of all rights of redemption from titles conveyed by a tax collector's
deed, and the foreclosure proceedings shall follow the course of equity in a proceeding provided
for in sections 44-9-25 -- 44-9-33.
44-9-25. Petition for foreclosure of redemption. -- (a) After one year from a sale of
land for taxes, except as provided in sections 44-9-19 -- 44-9-22, whoever then holds the title
acquired may bring a petition in the superior court for the foreclosure of all rights of redemption
thereunder. The petition shall set forth a description of the land to which it applies, with its
assessed valuation, the petitioner's source of title, giving a reference to the place, book, and page
of record, and other facts as may be necessary for the information of the court. Two (2) or more
of land may be included in any petition brought by
a town, as any
purchaser of a title or
titles, if the parcels are in the same record ownership at the time of bringing the petition (Form 5).
(b) No more than one (1) foreclosure petition may be filed for each tax deed regardless of
the number of tax title holders having an interest under such deed. If more than one (1) petition is
filed the petitions shall be consolidated for hearing by the court. The court shall not award more
than one (1) attorneys’ fee to the petitioners.
44-9-35. Errors and irregularities in proceedings. -- No tax title shall be held to be
invalid by reason of any error or irregularity which is neither substantial nor misleading, whether
the error or irregularity occurs in the proceedings of the collector or the assessors or in the
proceedings of any other official or officials charged with duties in connection with the
of the tax title
., or in the proceedings to foreclose the rights of
redemption as set
forth in sections 44-9-25 to 44-9-33, inclusive. Failure of notice under sections 44-9-9, 44-9-10
and 44-9-11 may only be raised by a party who was not sent notice, and, if failure of notice be
proved, the collector’s sale shall be invalid only as to that party and no other.
Refund of purchase price when title based on sale without foreclosure adjudged
invalid Refund of purchase price when title based on collector’s
sale, treasurer’s assignment, or sale without foreclosure adjudged invalid. -- If, as the result of a
petition, the petitioner's title based on a collector’s sale, treasurer’s
assignment, or sale without foreclosure is adjudged determined to
be invalid by the superior court because of errors or irregularities
in the tax proceedings upon which it was based, the clerk, upon request, shall
issue a certificate to that effect. The treasurer of the town where the land
affected by the title is situated, upon receipt of a release by the holder
of the title of all interest deed from the petitioner conveying all of
the interest which he or she may have under it, together with the certificate,
shall refund to the holder the amount paid, but not exceeding the amount
received by the city or town.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect on January 6, 2004.