A Nebraska homeowner couldn’t pay $600 in property taxes, and lost $60,000 in home equity

A Nebraska homeowner couldn’t pay $600 in property taxes, and lost $60,000 in home equity

The Pacific Legal Foundation has asked the Supreme Court to hear a case questioning the constitutionality of a Nebraska law that allows counties to sell property tax liens to private entities, who can then take the property, and any equity that the owners have in excess of the tax obligation they owed. This process is known by property rights advocates as “home equity theft.” It’s not known whether the Supreme Court will choose to hear the case.

Kevin Fair of Scottsbluff, pictured at the top of this article, is one Nebraskan who has been victimized by home equity theft. With the help of Legal Aid of Nebraska and Pacific Legal Foundation, Fair hopes to take his case to the U.S. Supreme Court. In March, the Nebraska Supreme Court denied his claims against the current law.

KFAB’s Ian Swanson talked with a lawyer from Pacific Legal Foundation about this topic last week.

Sen. John Cavanaugh has an Interim Study Resolution, LR424, which may be heard in the Unicameral’s Judiciary Committee this fall. The Platte Institute has partnered with several other organizations in the state to encourage a thorough study, followed by a bill next year that will put an end to this practice of stealing equity, regardless of what the Supreme Court does.

Photo Courtesy Pacific Legal Foundation

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