Carloss v. County of AlamedaAnnotate this Case
The county seized and sold residential property that was in default on property taxes. Sale proceeds exceeded the tax delinquency. Carloss, the son of the deceased former resident of the property, made a claim under Rev. & Tax. Code, 4675(a), (e)(1)(B), (f), which permits a “person with title of record” to tax-defaulted property or the person’s successor to claim sale proceeds in excess of the tax liability. Carloss’s mother was listed as the property owner in county tax records and had lived in the house for over 50 years. The county denied the claim because no deed appears in the county records, reasoning that title of record can be established only with a recorded deed. The trial court found the action time-barred, as not filed within 90 days of the administrative decision. The court of appeal reversed, finding the action timely and that a recorded grant deed is not the exclusive means of proving title of record. While proving title may be difficult in the absence of such a deed, in unusual circumstances such as Carloss alleged, title of record may be established by various recorded instruments, assessor’s records, and testimony that, as a whole, proves that the claimant or the claimant’s predecessor in interest held title of record.