Affordable housing is a tough enough nut to crack as is, but events hundreds of miles removed from the Adirondacks can precipitate unexpected headwinds.
In 2015, Hennepin County in Minnesota seized a condominium for $15,000 worth of back taxes and associated costs. The county then sold the property at a tax sale for $40,000.
The previous owner sued, arguing that the county’s $25,000 profit constituted an illegal taking, and that the money rightfully belonged to her.
The case bounced along through the judicial system until on May 25, when in Tyler v. Hennepin County, the Supreme Court agreed that the profits indeed belonged to the former owner.
It was, said Nicole Justice Green, a heart-stopping moment for the Essex County Land Bank, which is counting on tax foreclosures to power a promising avenue of affordable housing.