Tax Sales: Know Your Rights  

The information provided on this post does not, and is not intended to, represent legal advice. All information available on this site is for general informational purposes only. If you need legal help, you should contact a lawyer. You may be eligible for our free legal services and can apply by calling our Covid Legal Hotline at 1-844-244-7871 or applying online here.

What is a tax sale?

A tax title sale is the sale or adjudication of the tax sale title on a property on which delinquent taxes are owed.  These properties are sold to the public at an auction for the amount of delinquent taxes due plus any accrued interest, penalties, costs, and other statutory imposed fees.

How does the tax sale work?

Properties for which past taxes are owed are offered at a public auction for the past due amount.  The tax debtor will be notified in advance by mail, and the sale will be announced to the public through publication in the official journal of the parish more than 30 days before and within 7 days of the opening day of the tax sale.  Properties available for tax sale can be found on They will be subject to an open bidding process and will be available to view starting one month before the opening date. Rather than bidding on the dollar amount, anyone can bid on a percent ownership interest in the property. The bidder willing to pay the total delinquent amount due for the least percent ownership interest will be the successful bidder.

Why is the tax sale happening on the property?

The property is being sold because there are overdue taxes and/or liens associated with the property for the current tax year or previous tax year(s).

How can a homeowner stop a tax sale from taking place on their property?

The homeowner can only prevent the property from being sold at a tax sale if they (1) are a member of the United States military on active duty and notify the parish tax collector of their active military status, pursuant to 50 U.S.C. § 561; (2) pay the overdue taxes and/or liens no later than the day before the opening of the tax sale to the parish assessor; or (3) file for bankruptcy in which an order stopping the tax sale will be issued.

After the tax sale occurs what happens next?

After the successful tax sale, the winning bidder needs to record the tax sale in the parish mortgage office.  The homeowner then has three years from that date to redeem the property (18 months in Orleans Parish if the property is legally blighted or abandoned) by paying all the amounts owed to the Assessor’s office.  This would include the tax sale purchase price, plus a five percent (5%) penalty and one percent (1%) interest per month from the date of the tax sale until the date of redemption.

After the tax sale does the homeowner still own his house?

Yes, the ownership of the house does not change with the tax sale.  However, during this time all notices from the Assessor’s office for the property taxes are sent to the tax sale purchaser.  If a subsequent year’s property taxes are not paid, another tax sale auction could be held on the property.

Can the homeowner be evicted from his house after a tax sale?

No, since the ownership of the house is still with the homeowner and not the tax sale purchaser.  This fact should defeat any eviction attempt.

What if the property was purchased at the tax sale with less than 100% interest?

The tax sale is still a valid sale but the tax sale purchaser only owns the percentage of the tax sale that he paid for.  If the property is not timely redeemed and becomes subject to a Quiet Title lawsuit, the property will have to be sold at public auction and the proceeds will be paid to the tax sale purchaser at their bid percentage.  The homeowner would receive the remaining funds, but the ownership of the house would be lost due to the sale at auction.

Can a family member or other third party redeem the property? 

Yes, any person may redeem tax sale title to property, but the redemption shall be in the name of the homeowner.

What happens if the homeowner fails to redeem the tax sale within the allowed time period?

If the tax sale property is not redeemed within the redemptive period, full ownership of the tax sale property, free of ownership and other interests, claims or encumbrances can be obtained by the filing of a lawsuit to Quiet Title in the parish court where the property is located.  The homeowner and all other interested parties will have to be served with the lawsuit.

Can the homeowner still redeem the tax sale property after getting sued in a Quiet Title lawsuit?

Depends.  First, the redemption will no longer be voluntarily since the redemption period has ended.  If a Quiet Title lawsuit has been filed, then the property rights will be determined in this lawsuit.  At this time, the homeowner can negotiate with the tax sale purchaser to keep his property.  But, the tax sale purchaser can demand any price to settle this matter.

What Should I Do If I Get a Check in the Mail From a Lender?

The information provided on this post does not, and is not intended to, represent legal advice. All information available on this site is for general informational purposes only. If you need legal help, you should contact a lawyer. You may be eligible for our free legal services and can apply by calling our Covid Legal Hotline at 1-844-244-7871 or applying online here.

I received a check in the mail made out to me.  Should I cash it?

Not necessarily.  Be sure to read all the fine print to determine whether the check is a refund from a reliable agency such as the Internal Revenue Service or it is a common “Live Check Loan.”

What is a live check loan?

A live check loan is a loan offer sent by lending agencies to pre-approved borrowers offering a small loan, usually $500-$2500, typically at very high interest rates often above 25% APR.  This loan offer will include a check made out to you ready to cash.  Live check loans should also include: a disclosure of the loan fees, the annual percentage rate (APR), the payment schedule, the loan agreement, a privacy notice about the sharing of your personal information, your right to exclude your name from future offers – called an opt-out notice, and contact information for the sender.  Upon cashing or depositing the check, you are accepting all the terms and conditions attached to the loan.  Be sure to read the fine print included with this check to determine whether this loan is right for you.

Is this pre-approved loan offer a scam?

Scammers sometimes send fake loan offers via mail, email, or text. These may look very similar to actual live check loan offers, but they are used to get your personal or financial information in order to commit identity theft or fraud.  If the loan asks you to send money, personal, or financial information in return, it is most likely a scam.  Visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Consumer Complaint Database to see if the lender is licensed in your state and whether there are complaints against them at If you think this offer is a scam, you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission at

How does a live check work?

If you want to accept the live check loan, you must endorse the check by signing the back of the check and cashing or depositing the funds into your bank account. This creates a loan agreement that you must repay with interest in accordance with the payment plan included. If you pay late or do not pay, you may be charged fees along with interest, and the lender may report your debt to a credit reporting agency which could affect your credit score. To reject the loan offer, you should securely destroy—by shredding and throwing away—the live check to avoid potential fraudulent use by others.

How do I determine if I should accept this loan offer?

Live check loans may be convenient since you do not have to complete a loan application or file paperwork. However, live check loans may have much higher interest rates than other loans or credit cards. If you are interested in a loan or line of credit, you should follow these few simple steps:

  • Research the lender. Check if the lender is licensed to do business in your state through your state’s bank regulator. Visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau complaint database to see if the lender has complaints.
  • Read the loan agreement. Understanding the loan’s rates and terms helps determine its affordability. The agreement should detail the total annual cost of borrowing, represented as an annual percentage rate and including interest costs and fees; the number of required payments; and payment amounts.
  • Shop around. Compare personal loan rates and terms at credit unions, banks, and online lenders. If you have bad credit, you may be able to get lower rates at federal credit unions, which cap rates on loans at 18 percent. You can also check rates and terms at online lenders. Most run a soft pull on your credit, which has no impact on your credit score.
  • Focus on long-term solutions. Create a budget that tracks your spending, which can identify unnecessary spending and help you pay off debt or direct money to an emergency fund. You can then use cash for emergencies instead of high-interest credit.

What should I do with this live check?

If you decide that you want to accept the loan offer, simply endorse the back of the check with your signature and cash or deposit the check to your bank account.

If you decide that you do not want to accept the loan offer, rip up the check and throw it away.  If you do not destroy the check before throwing it away, you risk someone cashing the check in your name and becoming responsible for a loan you did not receive.

How do I stop these unsolicited loan offers?

If you do not want to receive live checks or other unsolicited loan offers, you have the right under the Fair Credit Reporting Act to opt out of future offers for five years or permanently. To opt out for five years, call 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit  To opt out permanently, visit and return a signed “Permanent Opt-Out Election form,” which they will send after you make the request.

I already cashed the check.  What do I do now?

Upon cashing the check, you became bound to the terms and conditions of the loan offer.  If you cannot afford the payments as described in the offer, contact the lender about possible options to repay your loan.  If you pay late or do not pay without reaching an agreement with the lender, they may charge fees along with interest, report your debt to a credit reporting agency, or take action to garnish your wages or seize your property.

The information provided on this post does not, and is not intended to, represent legal advice. All information available on this site is for general informational purposes only. If you need legal help, you should contact a lawyer. You may be eligible for our free legal services and can apply by calling our Covid Legal Hotline at 1-844-244-7871 or applying online here.

Current As of November 2020

Have you gotten a letter or lawsuit about owing money back to ROAD HOME? If so, help may be available for lawsuits and debt collections.

  • There may be help even if you have not returned home, not elevated or are otherwise not in compliance.
  • There may be help as to the first or later grants from ROAD HOME.

If you have proof any of these problems kept you from elevating or returning to your home, you might be able to get your debt ended or reduced:

The Problem or What Happened

Contractor Fraud

Theft or Vandalism

Later Property Damage (hurricane, flood, fire, etc.)

Money used for rent or other housing costs (After August of 2008)

You had to use the funds to pay down or off the mortgage of the damaged property

Proof You May Need

Copy of contract, receipts, lawsuits filed, proof of incomplete work, police reports, etc.

Police reports, insurance claims, civil or criminal complaints, proof of damage, receipts or proof of stolen items, etc.

Insurance claims or paperwork, building inspections, photos of damages, etc.

Lease agreements, rent receipts, hotel/motel receipts, etc.

Mortgage Payoff letter, copies of insurance checks, payoff statements, etc.

These are some of the common problems and documents used to show what happened. This is not a list of every problem or every document you may need.  Keep the documents in a safe place. Make copies, take pictures or scan the documents. A lawyer experienced in dealing with Road Home collections can help you through this. To see if Southeast Louisiana Legal Services can provide free help, call 1-844-244-7871.