Richard, 64, and his siblings, inherited the father’s home in 2018 along with roughly $9000 in past due property taxes including penalties and interest. After their father’s passing, Richard moved into the home, maintaining the property and paying the bills which included making payments towards the taxes.
When the Covid pandemic hit, Richard had trouble keeping up with the payments and with the threat of foreclosure looming, he sought relief in the form of a loan to pay off the past due taxes.
After falling behind on his loan payments, Richard was sued for the delinquent taxes and the threat of foreclosure continued. Richard believed the tax loan company took advantage of him when he was in a vulnerable position and forced him into agreeing to enter into an unfavorable and unfair payment agreement. Richard reached out to Lone Star Legal Aid’s Justice for Older Adults (JOA) Unit to help him stay in his home.
Upon intervening and investigating, the JOA team discovered that Richard’s options were limited because he voluntarily entered into the payment agreement with tax loan company, however, per Texas law, Richard was entitled to defer payment of property taxes once he turned 65 or if he is designated as a partially disabled veteran. At the time, Richard was several months away from turning 65 and was in the process of receiving a disabled veteran status. The JOA team delayed any action in order to allow time for Richard to gain age and status that would qualify him for property tax deferral. Once the age and status required was obtained, the JOA team assisted Richard in applying for and being granted the tax deferral which then entitled him to abate or end the tax suit.
JOA Attorney, Trong “Mike” Nguyen, filed a Plea in Abatement requesting that the Court end the case per the Texas Tax Code. Attorney Nguyen represented Richard at the hearing and was able to obtain an abatement of the case. Richard got to remain in his home with some assurance, therefore relieving his anxiety and fear of being homeless and from being exploited out of his home.
*Name(s) have been changed to protect the client’s identity.