Court Sides With Elderly Woman Facing Eviction

ATLANTA (AP)-Georgia’s top court has ruled in favor of a Fulton County woman who faced being ejected from her home of 47 years.

The Georgia Supreme Court’s 5-2 decision on Monday was against the company that claimed title to Rita James’ property after purchasing it in a tax sale.

Rita and Willie James purchased their home in 1964 and the land was deeded to her after the couple divorced in 1978. She has remained there since and fully paid the mortgage in 1994.

She received a tax notice in October 2002 from the county but she believed it was mistakenly sent to her so she didn’t pay. Intown Ventures later purchased the land in a tax sale and filed a lawsuit that set off the legal feud.

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  • Janice Mathis

    Usually, the term foreclosure refers to the sale of real estate to satisfy a mortgage. The mortgage usually arises from loan proceeds used to purchase or improve the property. In this article, foreclosure is used to refer to a lien that arose from taxes, rather than from a mortgage. This creates an important distinction. It is not likely that this case would serve as a precedent for relief from a loan (as opposed to tax lien.) In Georgia, as in most states, the homeowner has an absolute right to redeem property from the County in a tax sale, but not from a lender holding a mortgage. An interesting legal argument can be made that homeowners ought also to have the right of redemption in a mortgage foreclosure.

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