When real estate taxes are not paid on time and in full, a lien is placed on the property by operation of law. The Town of Brookline perfects this lien by commencing Tax Title procedures. Thereafter, an Instrument of Taking is filed at the Registry of Deeds.
Now a matter of public record, the Town’s interest in these unpaid tax dollars, interest fees, and costs constitute a recorded lien on the property. This lien is a cloud on the title. This means that when the property is refinanced or sold, the Town’s lien must be paid to have good title to the property. Usually, the lien amount (with 16% interest) is paid by the Settlement Agent/Closing Attorney.
Upon payment of the Tax Title lien in full, a Certificate of Redemption is issued by the Town. This document must be filed at the Registry of Deeds to remove the cloud on the title. The Certificate of Redemption removes the lien and clears the title to the property. See MGL, Chapter 60, Section 53 for more information.