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Foreclosures due to unpaid taxes drop in King County

Adrian Florez

The number of properties being auctioned off for non-payment of taxes went down by a third in the past year in King County. The county credits its foreclosure prevention team.

Often its seniors who can't pay and they may qualify for a tax exemption or tax deferral, but don't know about it. That's the sort of thing the foreclosure prevention team can help with.

Denise Rodriguez, who directs the nonprofit Washington Homeownership Resource Center, works with King and other counties to help people keep their homes. She says in a booming market like King County, finding a new place to live when you're on a fixed income can be difficult.  

"We have been seeing quite a lot of pressure on homeowners being forced to move out of communities that they know and love and have a lot of connection to," Rodriguez said.

State law requires counties to begin foreclosure proceedings after three years of unpaid property taxes. But Rodriguez says new state laws will make it easier to help people avoid reaching that point.

More people will be able to qualify for tax exemptions because it will be based on the median household incomes in an area rather than the current across the board limit of $40,000.  

Paula is a former host, reporter and producer who retired from KNKX in 2021. She joined the station in 1989 as All Things Considered host and covered the Law and Justice beat for 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.