Carloss v. County of Alameda
Facts: The owner of a residential property becomes delinquent and defaults on their property taxes. The county takes possession of the property and sells it for an amount exceeding its tax liability. Soon after the sale of the property, the previous owner dies and their heir files a claim with the county for the excess proceeds from the sale. The assessor’s records list the deceased as the property owner at the time the property was seized by the county, but no recorded grant deed exists proving the decedent held title to the property.
Claim: The previous property owner’s heir seeks to collect the excess proceeds from the county’s sale of the property claiming the deceased held title of record despite the fact no recorded grant deed exists since evidence such as assessor’s records and other documents recorded in the chain of title are sufficient to establish title of record.
Counter claim: The county claims the previous property owner’s heir is not entitled to the surplus funds since a recorded grant deed is needed to prove the decedent held title to the property and no such deed exists.
Holding: A California court of appeals holds the heir is entitled to the excess proceeds from the county’s sale of the tax-delinquent property since a recorded grant deed is not the exclusive means to prove an owner holds title of record to a property. [Carloss v. County of Alameda (2015) 242 CA4th 116]