Equity Theft In Real Estate Foreclosure Sales


2021 Wisconsin Act 216

Wisconsin property owners work hard to own their home and land. Unfortunately, because of difficult times and other unforeseen circumstances, some end up losing their property due to foreclosure.

Under Wisconsin’s property tax enforcement law, if a property owner is unable to pay their property taxes, counties are authorized to seize the property and sell it to pay off the property taxes owed. (Wis. Stat. § 75.63). However, if the county nets any proceeds from the sale after paying the past due property taxes, the county may keep those net proceeds.

Under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a landowner’s property rights are protected through the “takings clause,” which prohibits private property being taken for public use without just compensation. When it comes to home equity theft, counties are trampling on the constitutional rights of property owners by pocketing the net proceeds after a foreclosure sale that should be returned to the former property owner.

Wisconsin’s law was changed in 2022 to requires counties, after being made whole, to pay any net proceeds in any property tax foreclosure sale to the former owner of the property.

Holding the Line on Property Taxes


Capitol Insights

Ep. 32

Read More