Did you know that your house could enter into foreclosure if you forget to pay a sewage bill? A New Jersey couple recently found out their home was in foreclosure after they failed to pay a $140 city bill.
According to an NBC News article, Dominick Vulpis, 60, received a $140 bill four years ago from the city of Middletown, which he was unaware of until he was notified that his home was in foreclosure. “It was never brought to my attention until it was too late and we were served with papers saying we had to move out of our house,” said Vulpis to NBC. “I may pay a bill late, but I pay them. I’m not trying to beat anyone for $140.”
The city sold a lien on Vulpis’ home to a private investor, who tried to cash in on a late payment by securing interest in the property. According to NBC:
Incredibly, that $140 debt snowballed to the loss of his home after the town sold the lien on his property to an investor, an increasingly common practice as cash-strapped cities and towns try to raise badly needed revenues to close widening budget gaps.
Eventually, Vulpis was able to save his home with the help of an attorney and settled with the investor who purchased the lien. According to NBC, Vulpis’ “total tab could top $50,000.”
The article also points out that tax liens can lead to foreclosure proceedings if not dealt with quickly. According to NBC, “A recent report by the National Consumer Law Center estimated that local governments raised some $15 billion with tax lien sales in 2010.”
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