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Family’s house sold for $236 after housing lot mix-up

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 9:31 AM MDT
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PICAYUNE, Miss. (WLOX/Gray News) - A family said they received a notice that their home was sold for $236 in a delinquent tax sale, but the sale was done by mistake.

Now, they are hoping for a solution that will let them keep their Mississippi home, along with their money after real estate agency Viking Investments purchased the property.

“As of right now, I do not own my home. Viking Investments does,” Tiffany Ingram of Picayune told WLOX. “I owned the lot next to the house and not the lot the house was on.”

It seems the builder, Benchmark Home Builders, built the house on the wrong lot. Since the builder sold the house, the company stopped paying taxes. Ingram, however, was paying taxes on an imaginary house next door.

Pearl River County Tax Assessor documents show there were homes on both lots in the subdivision, even though one was clearly empty.

“They documented that there was a house on the vacant lot, and a house, obviously, where my house is instead of fixing it and saying that the house was in the wrong place,” Ingram said.

Meanwhile, the delinquent tax notices were not being delivered to anybody, and the county put the land up for sale.

Ingram said she found the note on her front door from Viking Investments stating the family had three days to leave. To make matters worse, they had recently put the home up for sale, and the ownership dispute has led to several potential buyers backing out.

Ingram said she isn’t getting answers from the county, builder or the investment company that now owns her house.

WLOX spoke to the developer and the investor who bought the property. Both said they would find a way to resolve the problem without Ingram losing her house or any money.

A Pearl River County official said the tax sale would be voided, but transferring the land deeds would be more difficult.

“Nobody has called me and said ‘Hey, Ms. Ingram, this is what we’re doing to fix this. We’ve got it handled. Don’t freak out.’ Nobody’s reached out to me,” she said.

The county tax assessor referred comments to the county attorney about how an empty lot was assessed as if there was a house on the lot. The county attorney didn’t return a request for comment.

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