Massachusetts Agencies

Old Tax Titles

Real Estate Taxes and Municipal Charges

The right of redemption under a tax title can be foreclosed, either in the land court or by reason of any low-value proceedings.[1] One of those methods of foreclosure must have been employed in order to rendered the title acceptable. See Massachusetts Conveyancers Association Title Standard No. 4.[2] 

1 Under prior statutes the right of redemption was automatically foreclosed two years after the taking or sale. However, without the benefit of any judicial foreclosure, the courts consistently invalidated this statutory foreclosure even for the most minute or innocuous deficiencies. See Eno & Hovey, Massachusetts Practice, Real Estate Law with Forms, West Publishing Company (Third Edition, 1995), §12.10. Titles based upon such old tax taking and sales have consistently been considered as unmarketable by the conveyancing bar. Accordingly, we will not insure them.

2 The tax title in this case, though made in 1915, was for taxes assessed theretofore. The law relating to the foreclosures of tax title is the law in effect at the time the taking or sale was made. It may be that the land court does not have jurisdiction to foreclosure the tax title at this time. However, you will want to check with land court personnel on this point. If there is no jurisdiction to foreclosure the tax title the title will have to be registered (or confirmed) before it can be insured.