The historic Essex House in Holyoke is facing foreclosure as its current and former owners are delinquent in paying a substantial amount of taxes. A tax lien was previously placed on the property to no avail. The property is also in a deteriorating state, causing many city officials to be concerned about its unclear future and contemplating methods that would establish a long-term plan for the building. The property currently has an outstanding tax bill of more than $76,780, stemming from taxes that accrued between 2008 and 2013. A tax collector filed a tax taking for the property in 2011 when over $7,000 was due in unpaid taxes. The property was then eligible for a foreclosure by the city during the same time period, but many properties were also subject to foreclosure at the time, so action was delayed on the Essex House. Finally, the property was officially approved for foreclosure in September 2012 with a complaint to foreclose the lien in November 2012.
A new study by the National Consumer Law Center said outdated state and local municipality laws are making it possible for people who are delinquent on their property taxes to lose their homes. For as little as $400 owed in property taxes, local governments are placing tax liens on the houses, seizing the property, then selling the tax liens to big banks and other investors.