Sunday, May 23, 2010
In order to make a claim for trespass the plaintiff must show either that he was the true owner with legal title or that he had possession at the time of trespass. The tax deed did not convey legal title, instead it conveyed an inchoate or defeasible title subject to the owner's right of redemption. Thus, when the building was demolished there was still a right of redemption by the former owner of the property, and the investors lacked standing to make a trespass claim. The result of this case is that purchasers of property at a tax sale have no ability to file suit for property damage that occurs during the one year right of redemption period. This greatly increases the risks associated with property bought in a tax sale.