Burgess v. Lamoille Housing PartnershipAnnotate this Case
Plaintiff Matthew Burgess appealed decisions of the superior court’s civil division which dismissed certain defendants and granting summary judgment to another defendant with respect to plaintiff’s claim that he was entitled to either a tax collector’s deed conveying him property he redeemed from foreclosure or damages compensating him for not being conveyed the deed. Plaintiff’s parents, John and Virginia Burgess, mortgaged property located in defendant Town of Morristown through defendant Lamoille Housing Partnership, Inc. (LHP), a nonprofit corporation that assisted people in finding affordable housing. The Burgesses purchased the property through LHP’s Home Land Program, by which ownership of the underlying land was severed from ownership of the house in which the Burgesses resided. Under the arrangement, a warranty deed from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development conveyed the land and improvements to the Burgesses, who granted a mortgage deed to the USDA Rural Development encumbering both the land and improvements. The Burgesses then conveyed the land to LHP, retaining only the title to the improvements. LHP and the Burgesses then entered into a ground lease granting the Burgesses a leasehold interest in the land for a ninety-nine-year term subject to certain terms and conditions, including that the Burgesses pay the property taxes on the entire property. The Burgesses later disputed their obligation to pay property taxes, which ultimately resulted in their son attempting to redeem the property through foreclosure. The Supreme Court affirmed the superior court: "a simple review of the governing statutes reveals that redemption of property sold at a tax sale does not entitle the redeeming party to a collector’s deed."