Property taxes must be paid, and it’s legal for governments to take property to pay an outstanding debt. But the government shouldn’t keep any more money beyond what’s owed. The rest is your property: home equity that you’ve worked hard to build.

Is Home Equity Theft happening to you? Submit a case.

In courts and legislatures, Pacific Legal Foundation fights to protect your nest egg and prevent governments from stealing homeowners’ equity.


In courts and legislatures, Pacific Legal Foundation fights to protect your nest egg and prevent governments from stealing homeowners’ equity.

Twelve States (plus DC) Allow Home Equity Theft

February 16, 2023 | By KATHY HOEKSTRA

The Detroit News: End home equity theft scheme for good

In October, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals delivered an important victory for property owners. The ruling also set the stage for a property rights battle that will soon be settled by the U.S….

January 13, 2023

Supreme Court takes up property 'theft’ dispute over unpaid taxes

The justices will hear a challenge to the way government and private companies reap profits when properties are seized for a failure to pay taxes.

December 16, 2022 | By CHRISTINA MARTIN

The Hill: Government-sponsored home equity theft robs the elderly and poor of millions of dollars

If you owe someone $14, should they be entitled to take a $100 bill out of your wallet and keep the change? Obviously not. Yet in a dozen states and the nation’s capital, the government collects delin…

August 29, 2022 | By CHRISTINA MARTIN

The Hill: How government encourages property theft in Massachusetts — and homeowners are fighting back

The first time Mark Mucciaccio of South Easton, Mass., remembers hearing of Tallage Lincoln LLC was when he learned the real estate investment company had taken his longtime family home out from under…


The Hill: Massachusetts grandmother lost her savings to tax foreclosure law

When Deborah Foss, a 66-year-old grandmother in New Bedford, Mass., bought her home in 2015, she expected it would be where she would live the rest of her life in comfort and security. But by February…

May 4, 2022 | By BRITTANY HUNTER

John Stossel highlights the home equity theft scheme robbing individuals of their property

John Stossel’s newest video highlights our client Tawanda Hall and unmasks the predatory “tax and take” scheme known as home equity theft.

October 21, 2022 | By CHRISTINA MARTIN

Michigan officials steal families’ homes to pad their budgets

Greed: an intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power   The house on Diamond Lake was estimated to be worth between $3 million and $4 million. It was nestled on the shore with other multimillion-dollar houses in the postcard-perfect Michigan setting. “Diamond is a very appropriate name for this beautiful lake,” one visi …

October 18, 2022 | By BRITTANY HUNTER

Victory! Sixth Circuit Saves Widow’s $277,000 from Michigan’s Home Equity Theft

Michigan nursing assistant Tawanda Hall has cause to celebrate after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled last week that Michigan violated the Constitution when it took her home to satisfy an unpaid property tax debt.  After experiencing financial hardships, Tawanda fell behind on her property taxes. When she went to set …

August 24, 2022 | By BRITTANY HUNTER

Grandmother recovers $85,000 settlement after government gave her house away for pennies on the dollar  

Every great hero comes to a point in their journey where they find themselves down for the count—wounded, downtrodden, and doubting their ability to defeat their formidable foe.    When Pacific Legal Foundation’s communications team first met our hero, 67-year-old Deborah Foss, she was homeless in New Bedford, Massachusetts.   Deborah was in …

May 02, 2022 | By NICOLE W.C. YEATMAN

Reverse Robin Hood—How private firms profit from home equity theft

Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor. That’s the opposite of what’s happening in Massachusetts, where home equity theft allows the state to steal homes from struggling, low-income families and give them to private investment firms.   It should be said: Companies that profit from home equity theft—the unconscionable government prac …

April 18, 2022 | By DANIEL DEW

Wisconsin just took a huge step in protecting private property

Wisconsin has become the latest state to end the unconstitutional practice of equity theft. Equity theft is a scheme that allows governments to settle an unpaid tax debt by taking a person’s private property—and all the equity it has accumulated. Governments often sell that property to private investors, who make windfall profits at the owner’s …

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