Question: What is Tax Title?
Answer: When real estate taxes are not paid on time and in full, a lien on the property by operation of law. The City of Somerville perfects this lien by commencing Tax Title procedures. Thereafter, an Instrument of Taking is filed at the Registry of Deeds (or Registry District). Now, a matter of public record, the city’s interest in those unpaid tax dollars, interest fees and costs constitute a recorded lien on the property. This lien is a cloud on the title. This means that when the property is re-financed or sold, the City’s lien must be paid to have good title to the property. Usually, the lien amount (with 16% interest) is paid by the Settlement Agent/Closing Attorney. Upon payment of the Tax Title lien in full, a certificate of Redemption is issued by the City. This document must be filed at the Registry of Deeds (or Registry District) to remove the cloud on the title. The certificate of Redemption removes the lien and clears the title to the property. See Mass. General Law, Chapter 60, Section 53 for more information.