Massachusetts Agencies

Redemption of Tax Title

Real Estate Taxes and Municipal Charges

The operative statute regarding redemption is G.L.c 60, §62. The statute provides that redemption can be made "at any time prior to the filing of a petition to foreclose." (Emphasis added). The sections in Chapter 60 generally were discussed in Town of Lynnfield v. Owners Unknown, 397 Mass. 470, 492 N.E.2d 86 (1986). Essentially, our court has stated that redemption will be permitted even after the filing of the petition to foreclose, and nearly at any time before decree:

In keeping with the respect with which our society regards the private ownership of property, the long standing policy in this Commonwealth favors allowing an owner to redeem property taken for nonpayment of taxes.

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The purpose of [the redemption provisions of Chapter 60] is not to provide municipalities with a method of acquiring property for municipal purposes without paying the owner of the property fair compensation as in eminent domain proceedings.

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Thus, the only legitimate interest of a town in seeking to foreclose rights of redemption is the collection of taxes due on the property . . . . When an owner of property taken for the nonpayment of real estate taxes comes forward with sufficient funds to redeem the property, the purpose of the statute has been fulfilled. (Emphasis added).

Incidentally, I note that the court, in making its decision refers to the "thoughtful and scholarly opinion" rendered by the Rhode Island Supreme Court in Albertson v. Leca, 447 A.2d 383 (R.I.1982).