Do you have to pay current property taxes on property that has been quitclaim deeded before it can be recorded?

In Massachusetts, as in many states, the recorder in the land records has no interest in whether property taxes are owed. Their only obligation is to take the deed in and make it part of the public record informing the world that the property has a new owner.

Before a buyer records a deed, their attorney should have the title examined for any outstanding liens and obtain a certificate of municipal liens from the town that lists any municipal assessments that are due. The property taxes are apportioned so that the seller pays the taxes until the transfer is made.

A check for any delinquent taxes is very important. A town has a statutory period of around three years to reach out and take property for non-payment of taxes after it has been sold to a new owner. That means that you could "own" your home for three years thinking everything is fine. The town could send you a notice that the property has been taken for non-payment of taxes by the former owner. The amount due would be increased by interest, costs and late charges. You would have no choice but to pay the bill in order to redeem your property.

So make sure there are no back taxes due before the closing.