Ex parte J.C. King IIIAnnotate this Case
The property at issue in this appeal served as a rental home located in a residential neighborhood. The property owner, J.C. King III, stopped paying property taxes in 2015 after a fire extensively damaged the property and rendered it uninhabitable. The State of Alabama purchased the property at a 2016 tax sale, and in 2019 the property was ultimately sold in its uninhabitable state to Anderson Realty Group, LLC ("ARG"). ARG spent $88,812 to extensively renovate and restore the property to a habitable condition, and in 2020 it filed a complaint seeking to quiet title to the property. King filed a counterclaim to redeem the property and disputed whether the extensive renovations to the property could be considered "preservation improvements" due to be included in the redemption amount pursuant to § 40-10-122, Ala. Code 1975. The trial court agreed with King, holding that "preservation improvements" included only those amounts expended by ARG to keep the property from further deterioration, the value of which it concluded was $10,000, and it entered a judgment setting the redemption amount accordingly. ARG appealed, and the Court of Civil Appeals reversed that judgment, holding that the trial court had erred in limiting the "preservation improvements" to the cost of repairs undertaken to keep the property in the same condition it was in at the time of the tax sale. The Alabama Supreme Court granted King's petition for a writ of certiorari to consider, as a matter of first impression, the meaning of the phrase "preservation improvements" as defined in § 40-10-122(d). The Supreme Court agreed that the trial court erred in limiting ARG to the recovery of the cost of repairs to keep the property in the same condition it was in at the time of the tax sale. Accordingly, its judgment was affirmed.