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Volume 6 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 117

Opinions of Counsel index

Taxes (delinquent notice of unredeemed lands) - Real Property Tax Law, §§ 1002, 1014:

Where a transfer of title to tax delinquent property occurs between the tax lien sale and the expiration of the redemption period, the notice of unredeemed lands is required to be sent to the transferor only.

We have been asked whether, in the case of a transfer of title to tax delinquent property between the date of the tax lien sale and the expiration of the redemption period, the name of the transferor or that of the transferee should be used for notice purposes pursuant to section 1014 of the Real Property Tax Law. That is, should notice be directed to the name of the owner entered on the tax roll at the time of the delinquency or to that of the owner at the time of the issuance of such notice?

As a general rule, once there has been a sale of a tax lien pursuant to section 1006 of the Real Property Tax Law, an owner, occupant or any other person is entitled to redeem the real property at any time within one year from the last day of sale (Real Property Tax Law, § 1010). If the property is not redeemed, the tax lien holder is entitled to a tax deed to the parcel (Real Property Tax Law, § 1018), subject to certain statutory limitations including the extended period of redemption for occupied and mortgaged property granted by sections 1022 and 1024, respectively, of the Real Property Tax Law (Real Property Tax Law, § 1020).

Prior to the expiration of the one year period, however, section 1014 mandates that notice be given to certain parties. Subdivision 3 requires notice to be mailed not less than 14 days prior to the commencement of the published notice “to the name and address of the owner or occupant as shown on the assessment roll” (emphasis added). Pursuant to subdivision 1, a notice must be published “specifying particularly every parcel unredeemed.”

We can find no authority for the proposition that either the published or the mailed notice should be directed to a name other than that which appeared on the assessment roll on which the delinquent taxes were levied. The county itself may wish to mail notice to a person who acquires property prior to the expiration of the period of redemption, but there is no statutory mandate that it do so.

A decision of the Supreme Court, Ontario County, concluded that the notice of tax lien required by section 1002 (and, by implication, notice of unredeemed lands) would not require a record search to determine whether title had been transferred in the interim. In Taccone v. DiRenzi, 92 Misc.2d 786, 401 N.Y.S.2d 722, the court noted as follows:

There is no requirement that the county search the grantor and grantee indices to discover if the name of the record owner is different from the name listed on the assessment roll. Even the recent 1976 amendment to Real Property Tax Law § 1002(4), which now compels additional notice by first class mail, provides that it need only be sent to the person “shown on the assessment roll” (401 N.Y.S.2d at 726).

A reading of the entire case makes it clear that the court was interpreting “assessment roll” to mean that roll on which the delinquent taxes were extended. While the case does not consider section 1014, it seems logical that the same rationale would apply to a question of notice arising under the latter statute.

June 27, 1978

NOTE:  Superseded by Opinion 8-68.