Real Estate & Property Law

Widow who lost $280K house for $6 in unpaid interest vows appeal after judge upholds sale

A Pennsylvania widow is vowing to appeal a ruling upholding the sale of her $280,000 home for failure to pay $6.30 in interest on a tax bill paid six days late.

“I’m going to fight it until my dying day,” Eileen Battisti, 53, told TribLive. The Associated Press, Forbes, McClatchy Tribune and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette also have stories.

Judge C. Gus Kwidis of Beaver County ruled against Battisti last week, finding that she had received proper notice before the home was sold at auction in 2011 for $116,000. Battisti will receive about $108,000 of the proceeds. At the time of the auction, interest on the unpaid amount had grown to $255.

“She’s going to get that money, but she’s going to lose her house. All the notice requirements were met,” Kwidis told Trib Live. “In tax assessment laws, even if I feel sorry for her, I can’t do anything to help her. … Everyone felt bad about it.”

Kwidis ruled after holding an evidentiary hearing ordered by a commonwealth court.

Battisti had paid off the mortgage on the home with life insurance proceeds after her husband’s death in 2004. “Yes, I had issues. I’m a widow. I’m raising three kids on my own, trying to put them through college,” Battisti told Trib Live. “Yes, it took me a while to get the bills, but I pay my bills. To steal a house for $6 is ludicrous.”

The courts have allowed Battisti to remain in her home during the litigation. She says the buyer at the tax sale has offered to sell the home back to her for $260,000.

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