Supreme Court Invalidates Tax Deed Purchaser's Barment

On October 31, 2016 the Georgia Supreme Court issued an opinion in the case of Reliance Equities v. Lanier 5, et al. In that case, a purchaser at a non-judicial tax sale waited the statutory year following the tax sale to conduct the foreclosure of the right of redemption (i.e., the barment). The tax deed holder sent the barment notice to the former owner as required by statute. The former owner did not redeem the tax deed prior to the deadline provided for in that notice. Later the tax deed holder ran the required notice of publication in the county newspaper. The former owner attempted to redeem before the deadline listed in the published ad. The tax deed holder refused the redemption tender as being untimely.

The Court held that under a 'plain language' reading of O.C.G.A. Sec. 48-4-45, the former owner retained the right to redeem the tax deed up through the time the tax deed holder completed both the mailed notice and published notice of the barment.