An Act To Protect Elderly Residents from Losing Their Homes Due to Taxes or Foreclosure
Sec. 1. 36 MRSA §941, 2nd ¶ is amended to read:
The tax collector may, after the expiration of 8 months and within one year from the date of original commitment of the tax or, in the case of deferred taxes pursuant to chapter 908-A, after the due and payable date established pursuant to section 6271, subsection 5, give to the person against whom said the tax is assessed, or leave at his the person's last and usual place of abode, or send by registered mail to his the person's last known address, a notice in writing signed by said tax collector stating the amount of the tax, describing the real estate on which the tax is assessed and demanding the payment of such tax within 10 days after service of such notice.
Sec. 2. 36 MRSA §942, 2nd ¶, as amended by PL 1983, c. 407, §2, is further amended to read:
The tax collector may, after the expiration of 8 months and within one year after the date of original commitment of a tax or, in the case of deferred taxes pursuant to chapter 908A, after the due and payable date established pursuant to section 6271, subsection 5, give to the person against whom the tax is assessed, or leave at his the person's last and usual place of abode, or send by certified mail, return receipt requested, to his the person's last known address, a notice in writing signed by the tax collector or bearing his the tax collector's facsimile signature, stating the amount of the tax, describing the real estate on which the tax is assessed, alleging that a lien is claimed on the real estate to secure the payment of the tax, and demanding the payment of the tax within 30 days after service or mailing of the notice with $3 for the tax collector for making the demand together with the certified mail, return receipt requested, fee. In the case of taxes supplementally assessed, the tax collector may give that notice after the expiration of 8 months and within one year after the date of commitment of the supplementally assessed taxes. If an owner or occupant of real estate to whom the real estate is taxed dies before that demand is made on him that owner or occupant, the demand may be made upon the personal representative of his that owner's or occupant's estate or upon any of his that owner's or occupant's heirs or devisees.
Sec. 3. 36 MRSA §942, 5th ¶, as amended by PL 1991, c. 846, §9, is further amended to read:
The costs to be paid by the taxpayer are the sum of the fees for recording and discharge of the lien as established by Title 33, section 751, plus $13, plus the fee established by section 943 for sending a notice 30 to 45 days prior to the foreclosing date of the tax lien mortgage if that notice is actually sent and all certified mail, return receipt requested, fees. In the case of a lien in effect pursuant to chapter 908A, the costs to be paid include interest in the amount established under section 6271, subsection 3. Upon redemption, the municipality shall prepare and record a discharge of the tax lien mortgage.
Sec. 4. 36 MRSA §943-B is enacted to read:
§ 943-B. Credit reporting; payment during redemption period
If a municipality takes action under sections 942 or 943 to enforce a lien in effect pursuant to chapter 908-A that results in a record of a lien in a party's name being placed in that party's file with a consumer reporting agency, that lien must be considered inaccurate information under Title 10, section 1317 if the party submits proof to the consumer reporting agency that the deferred taxes were paid during the 18-month redemption period provided for in section 943.
Sec. 5. 36 MRSA c. 908-A is enacted to read:
MUNICIPAL PROPERTY TAX DEFERRAL FOR SENIOR CITIZENS
§ 6271. Municipal authority
An application, information submitted in support of an application and files and communications relating to an application for deferral of taxes under the program are confidential. Hearings and proceedings held by a municipality on an application must be held in executive session unless otherwise requested by the applicant. Nothing in this paragraph applies to the recording of liens or lists under subsection 3 or any enforcement proceedings undertaken by the municipality pursuant to this chapter or other applicable law.
The municipality shall make available upon request the most recent list of tax-deferred properties of that municipality required to be filed under subsection 3. The municipality may publish and release as public information statistical summaries concerning the program as long as the release of the information does not jeopardize the confidentiality of individually identifiable information.
The recording of the tax-deferred properties under this subsection is notice that the municipality claims a lien against those properties in the amount of the deferred taxes plus interest together with any fees paid to the county registry of deeds in connection with the recording. For a property deleted from the list, the recording serves as notice of release or satisfaction of the lien, even though the amount of taxes, interest or fees is not listed.
If the deferred tax liability of a property has not been satisfied by the date established pursuant to this subsection, the municipality may enforce the lien according to procedures in chapter 105, subchapter 9.
Partial payments accepted during the 18-month redemption period provided for in section 943 may not interrupt or extend the redemption period or in any way affect foreclosure procedures.