County May Use Nonjudicial Foreclosure for Nuisance Abatement Liens

The Court of Appeals held in a 2019 case that a County may sell a property in a nonjudicial tax foreclosure sale based upon a nuisance abatement lien. The nuisance abatement statute at O.C.G.A. 41-2-9 provides in part: “It shall be the duty of the appropriate county tax commissioner or municipal tax collector or city revenue officer, who is responsible or whose duties include the collection of municipal taxes, to collect the amount of the lien using all methods available for collecting real property ad valorem taxes, including specifically Chapter 4 of Title 48; provided, however, that the limitation of Code Section 48-4-78 which requires 12 months of delinquency before commencing a tax foreclosure shall not apply.”

The Court of Appeals reasoned that a nonjudicial sale was therefore appropriate because “[t]he methods available for collecting real property ad valorem taxes include both judicial in rem tax foreclosure sales (OCGA § 48–4–76 (a), (b) ) and nonjudicial tax foreclosure sales (OCGA § 48–4–1 (a) (1) (A) ).” Derby Properties, LLC v. Watson, 346 Ga. App. 631, 633, 816 S.E.2d 766, 768 (2018).

Nevertheless, it remains to be seen if nuisance abatement liens will become a significant source of new foreclosure sales.

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