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Single sewer lien not enough to bring foreclosure

August 8, 2013

Despite liens against their respective properties, two homeowners will be able to keep their properties out of the county tax sale.

Twin Lakes Regional Sewer District perfected liens against the properties owned by Steven Hruska and Virginia Hanna for unpaid sewer bills. After the trial court entered a judgment and order of sale to satisfy the payment of taxes and special assessments, Hruska and Hanna notified the court the sewer district’s filings were the sole liens on their properties.

The landowners argued that Indiana Code section 13-26-14-4 prohibits foreclosure if sewer liens are the only type of liens on the property. Subsequently, the trial court ordered the properties belonging to Hruska and Hanna could not be sold at a tax sale.

TLRSD appealed, alleging the trial court misinterpreted the provision of the Indiana statute.

The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the trial court in In Re: The Carroll County 2012 Tax Sale Twin Lakes Regional Sewer District v. Steven E. Hruska, Virginia Hanna & Equity Trust Co., FBO #80677 & Carroll Cnty, Indiana, by & through Carroll Cnty Auditor, 08A02-1303-MI-220.

The appeals court concluded the lower court properly determined that the statute bars foreclosure on the property at a tax sale when an unpaid sewer bill is the only lien. However, the COA pointed out, TLRSD can try to collect the unpaid bills by filing a civil action.  
 
 

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