§ 44-9-25.1. Foreclosure of the rights of redemption on account of abandonment.
Notwithstanding the provisions of § 44-9-25, following a sale of land for taxes, whoever holds the acquired title, may bring an immediate petition in the superior court for the foreclosure of all rights of redemption upon a finding by the superior court of abandonment. The petition shall include a description of the land to which it applies, with its assessed valuation, the petitioner's source of title, giving reference to the place, book, and page of the record, and other facts as may be necessary for the information of the court. A finding of abandonment shall be made under the following circumstances:
(1) The summons initiating the proceedings for the foreclosure of all rights of redemption and directed to the taxpayer at the taxpayer's premises, or at the last known address of the taxpayer, if known by the petitioner to be different from that of the taxpayer's premises, is returned not found.
(2) Upon the return of the summons as "not found," the petitioner may move the court, notice of the motion having been sent to the taxpayer by certified mail at the taxpayer's last known address, for the appointment of the code enforcement officer of the city or town or other appropriate person as an officer of the court to make a personal inquiry into the whereabouts of the taxpayer. The inquiry shall include visits to the taxpayer's premises, and inquiries with neighbors, known relatives, employers, and any other person or entity who the officer may reasonably conclude has information to the whereabouts of the taxpayer.
(3) If the officer of the court, upon inquiry, is unable to ascertain the whereabouts of the taxpayer, the court may, upon hearing the report of the officer and being satisfied as to its thoroughness, enter a finding that the taxpayer's premises are abandoned, and order that all rights of redemption be immediately foreclosed on account of the abandonment.
(4) If the inquiry of the officer results in the location of the taxpayer, the taxpayer shall be ordered by the court to appear for the limited purpose of declaring his or her intention with regard to exercising his or her right of redemption over the property. If, upon making an appearance, the taxpayer states that neither he or she nor anyone holding under him or her intends to occupy the mortgaged premises, the court may order that all rights of redemption be immediately foreclosed on account of that abandonment.
(5) Any person who willfully misrepresents facts regarding the finding of abandonment of taxpayer's premises or who engages in harassment or pressure to cause taxpayers to abandon premises or otherwise fraudulently obtains a finding of abandonment or a finding that premises have not been abandoned, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) or thirty (30) days in prison.
(6) Actions brought under this section to foreclose the right of redemption on account of abandonment in the superior court shall be given precedence on the calendar and shall be heard not later than thirty (30) days from the initiation of the proceedings.
(P.L. 1976, ch. 310, § 1.)