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


March 12, 2024 | By KYLE GRIESINGER

Idaho bans home equity theft following Supreme Court case last term

Idaho passes law that removes a loophole in the law that allowed local governments collecting tax debts to foreclose on a homeowner’s property and give it to any federal or Idaho state government, w…

February 12, 2024 | By SEAN AKEY

South Dakota bans home equity theft following Supreme Court case last term

Governor Kristi Noem signed into law House Bill 1090, which ends home equity theft in South Dakota by requiring tax-foreclosed properties to be auctioned within one year of the foreclosure, and the pr…

January 24, 2024 | By JIM MANLEY

City Journal: How to End Home-Equity Theft

The Supreme Court’s decision last May in Tyler v. Hennepin County represented a major victory for property rights across the United States. The landmark ruling helped protect homeowners’ equity by…

June 19, 2023

Rendering Unto Caesar Only What Is Caesar’s: States Can’t Steal Your Equity

It can be hard to find much on which Americans across ideologies agree these days, but here’s one: When you owe the government an inch, it shouldn’t take a mile. On that proposition, all nine memb…

May 27, 2023

As Supreme Court turns toward end of term, Americans battling the government are winning

WASHINGTON − A 94-year-old woman who lost her home, a student who could barely read after more than a decade of schooling and a couple fighting to build a house in Idaho all have something in common…

May 25, 2023

The County Sold Her Home Over Unpaid Taxes and Kept the Profit. SCOTUS Wasn't Having It.

“The taxpayer must render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, but no more,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

May 25, 2023

Major Unanimous Supreme Court Victory for Property Rights in Tyler v. Hennepin County

Today the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that such practices qualify as takings requiring the payment of “just compensation” under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

May 25, 2023

Supreme Court May 25, 2023 The Supreme Court Made Just About Everyone Happy for Once

On Thursday, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion that provides liberals, conservatives, and libertarians a rare chance to celebrate the same thing. The court’s decision in Tyler v. Hennepin…

May 25, 2023

Governments Owed Taxes Can’t Seize More Than They Are Due, Supreme Court Rules

‘Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, but no more,’ writes Chief Justice Roberts

April 21, 2023

The Supreme Court Takes Up ‘Home-Equity Theft’

Geraldine Tyler never thought she’d end up in front of the U.S. Supreme Court—especially at 94. But she also never imagined the government would seize her Minneapolis home and sell it. Ms. Tyler i…

March 21, 2024 | By JIM MANLEY

These states are trying to bring back home equity theft

States across the nation are responding to the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision last summer in Tyler v. Hennepin County, in which the Court held that home equity theft—when the government takes more than is owed when collecting a property tax debt—is unconstitutional. But some states have proposed reforms that would require property owners to …

October 04, 2023 | By STEVEN D. ANDERSON

Bloomberg profiled PLF’s successes at the Supreme Court. Here’s what they got right and wrong.

Bloomberg just published a feature on Pacific Legal Foundation—quoting me—that has me split. On one hand, I love that Bloomberg is talking about “PLF’s mastery of the long game.” But the article got only half the story right.  The article is a dual-profile of PLF and Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal advocacy group. Both …

June 26, 2023 | By NICOLE W.C. YEATMAN

States rush to comply with Tyler decision

Pacific Legal Foundation’s Supreme Court victory in Tyler v. Hennepin County created a domino effect across the country. State by state, legislatures are banning home equity theft. Governments have realized that they face significant liability if they ignore the Supreme Court’s ruling that home equity theft is unconstitutional.   In the New …

June 13, 2023 | By NICOLE W.C. YEATMAN

Is the Supreme Court putting ‘a thumb on the scale for property owners’?

In her concurring opinion in Sackett v. EPA, Justice Elena Kagan—probably the sharpest rhetorician on the bench, especially when she’s disagreeing with her colleagues—complained the Court’s majority was putting “a thumb on the scale for property owners.”   Well: Shouldn’t there be a thumb on the scale for property owners in the court of …

June 08, 2023 | By JOSHUA POLK

It’s a great week for ending home equity theft in Nebraska

Only two weeks removed from Pacific Legal Foundation’s major Supreme Court victory against home equity theft in Tyler v. Hennepin County, there is once again cause for celebration, especially if you live in Nebraska. In Tyler, the Court unanimously ruled that Minnesota’s use of home equity theft—when governments and their private partners satisfy …

June 01, 2023 | By JIM MANLEY

SCOTUS ruled home equity theft unconstitutional…what comes next?

In a unanimous decision last week, the Supreme Court ruled home equity theft unconstitutional, securing an individual’s right to just compensation when their property is seized. For years, Pacific Legal Foundation has argued that home equity theft—when governments satisfy property tax debt by taking a person’s home, selling it, and keeping more t …

May 25, 2023 | By STEVEN D. ANDERSON

Supreme Court announces big PLF victories in Sackett and Tyler

I’m going to remember today for a long time.   This morning—at around 7 a.m. where I am in California—the Supreme Court announced unanimous decisions in two Pacific Legal Foundation cases.   Both are stunning victories.   In Sackett v. EPA, which PLF senior attorney Damien Schiff argued on the first day of the term …

April 24, 2023 | By NICOLE W.C. YEATMAN

Christina Martin is fighting for the forgotten

The first case Christina Martin ever argued in court wasn’t big enough to catch most public interest attorneys’ attention. It was about a ticket on a car.   Christina was a young Pacific Legal Foundation attorney in her first real legal job. She’d moved cross-country from Oregon to Florida for “her dream job” at PLF. One …

April 20, 2023 | By DEBORAH LA FETRA

Minnesota county compares itself to feudal lord in Supreme Court brief

When elderly grandmother Geraldine Tyler failed to pay her property tax debt on her Minneapolis condo, Hennepin County took absolute title to the property, extinguishing all of Ms. Tyler’s interest, including any leftover proceeds after the taxes were paid. While the County was entitled to recover the back taxes, how could it justify greedily takin …

April 18, 2023 | By BRITTANY HUNTER

A timeline of PLF’s fight to end home equity theft

 On April 26, Pacific Legal Foundation will make our 19th appearance in front of the Supreme Court, this time to challenge the legality of state laws that empower local governments to steal people’s home equity to satisfy tax debts. The homeowners are left with nothing.  When the value of the stolen equity exceeds the amount …

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