$43 Land Sale May Force Blind Senior From Home

Dolores Pittman didn't know about transaction

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 1, 2013 1:01 AM CDT

(Newser) – Dolores Pittman moved into her home when she was 12 years old; after 55 years, she could soon be forced out. That's because the land beneath her northwest Indiana home was sold for $43 at a tax sale a few years ago—a sale Pittman didn't know about, the Chicago Tribune reports. Now, the new owner is charging Pittman, who is blind, $300 a month to stay in the house after filing for her eviction. "My income with a pension and social security is $1,000. Tell me where I'm going to find a place to rent," Pittman says, per ABC 7.

The story behind the sale is convoluted: Pittman's family bought the home in the 1970s or 1980s, she says, after renting for years from a local church. But the family didn't buy the land, instead paying $10 a year to the town to rent it. (And that's the amount Pittman had been paying, before being charged the $300 rent.) They thought the town had taken over the land, but the church apparently still owned it—yet the church didn't pay taxes on the property, which were levied beginning in 2005 due to a change in state law regarding non-for-profits and vacant land. "So in 2009, the land went to a county commissioner sale" without Pittman's knowledge, says the Lake County treasurer. The church, however, "just ignored it. They never called the county to say, 'Hey, we don't want this property,' or at the very least, they never called this lady." Pittman's attorney says prospects are grim, WGN-TV reports.

A screenshot of the home from ABC 7 video.
A screenshot of the home from ABC 7 video.   (ABC 7 video)
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