§ 2901 Lien of taxes and other charges; Notice of Lien.
(a)(1) Except as otherwise provided, "lien" or "liens" as used in this section shall arise whenever the following charges, as defined in this section, are levied or imposed by the State or any political subdivision thereof (including the Levy Court or county council of any county, any united, consolidated or incorporated school district, or any incorporated town or city in this State) and such charges become due:
a. Real property taxes, including penalty and interest thereon;
b. School taxes, including taxes for a vocational-technical high school district or county vocational-technical center district, including penalty and interest thereon;
c. Service charges for maintenance or use of sewer systems, including penalty and interest thereon;
d. Service charges for maintenance or use of water systems, including penalty and interest thereon;
e. Service charges for garbage collection;
f. Charges for the costs of removing, repairing, razing or demolition of unsafe or illegal buildings, structures and related building systems done through public expenditure;
g. Charges for duly authorized improvements or maintenance to the exteriors of buildings or property done through public expenditure;
h. Assessments for the installation of sewer lines, water mains, sidewalks and curbing, including penalty and interest thereon;
i. Fines and civil penalties associated with local building, property, maintenance, zoning, subdivision, drainage, sewer, housing, sanitation, or animal code citations, tickets, or violations. When authorized by local ordinance, the unpaid amounts of such fines and civil penalties may be added to local property tax billings for the property which was the subject of said citation, ticket or violation. "Civil penalties" as used in this section shall include any assessment, fee, charge, or penalty issued pursuant to an administrative procedure adopted by any political subdivision of the State with authority to implement such administrative procedure, the imposition of such civil penalty being final and nonappealable. "Fines" as used in this section shall include any fine imposed by any court and any civil judgment awarded to the State or any political subdivision thereof entered pursuant to § 4101 of Title 11 or otherwise;
j. Fees imposed by law or ordinance of any political subdivision of the State, which shall include, without limitation, municipal corporations, for registration of ownership of any vacant buildings located within the political subdivision, the imposition of which fees is final and non-appealable; and
k. Charges for the cost of removal, abatement or correction of any violation of local building, property maintenance, zoning, drainage, sewer, housing, or sanitation code done through public expenditure. When authorized by local ordinance, the unpaid amounts of such charges may be added to local property tax billings for the property which was the subject of violation and collected in the same manner as other real estate taxes.
(2) "Liens" shall not include administrative costs incurred by the sheriff in the sheriff's sale process.
(3) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(1) of this section, the liens created by this subsection are levied or imposed only upon that parcel of real property against or upon which such charges have been levied or imposed. Except as provided in paragraph (b)(1) of this section, the liens created by paragraphs (a)(1)a. through (a)(1)i. and (a)(1)k. of this section shall have preference to and priority over all other liens on such real property, including liens of a date prior in time to the attaching of the liens created by this section. The liens created by paragraph (a)(1)j. of this section shall have preference and priority with respect to all other liens on such real property as of the time such fees become final and non-appealable.
(4) Any political subdivision having the power to levy or collect any of the charges described herein shall maintain a record of all charges creating liens under this section, including the amount of the lien, the name of the chargeable, and the location of the real property against or upon which such charges have been levied or imposed. The record or information contained therein shall be available to the public upon request.
(b)(1) Upon the filing of a Notice of Lien by a political subsection in accordance with this subsection, the charges described in paragraph (a)(1) of this section shall, as of the date of filing a Notice of Lien pursuant to this subsection, be and constitute a lien upon all real property of which the chargeable was seized at the time, or at any time after such Notice of Lien has been filed in accordance with this subsection, situate in the county (including all real property situate within any incorporated town or city located within the county) in which such charges are levied or imposed.
(2) Notices of Lien shall be in the form of an affidavit, executed by an attorney for the political subdivision or by an employee of the political subdivision having custody and control over the records relating to the charges that constitute the lien, reciting that the chargeable is the owner of record of real property situate in the county (including all real property situate within any incorporated town or city located within the county) in which such charges are levied or imposed, that charges have been duly levied or imposed upon the chargeable, the types of charge as specified in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, the amount of such charges as of the date of filing the Notice of Lien and that the chargeable has failed to pay said charges despite notice by the political subdivision.
(3) A Notice of Lien for any chargeable may be filed at any time after the charges have become delinquent. Charges shall be deemed "delinquent" if they are unpaid as of the date upon which any penalty or interest shall accrue thereon in accordance with law or, in the event that there is no such date established by law, as of 90 days after the date upon which an authorized representative of the political subdivision made a demand for payment upon the chargeable.
(4) Notices of Lien shall be indexed by the name of the chargeable, in a separate index for such purposes maintained in the office of the prothonotary in each county. The index shall be maintained by the office of the prothonotary in the county in which the real property is located and shall include the name of the chargeable and the date and time the Notice of Lien was filed. A fee for filing the Notice of Lien shall be established by the Superior Court pursuant to § 8705 of Title 10 and shall be paid at the time of filing the Notice of Lien. The affidavit filed for each Notice of Lien shall be available to the public upon request. The lien created hereunder shall be a lien upon all real property owned by the chargeable at the time of filing that is situate in the county (including any incorporated town or city located within the county) in which such charges are levied or imposed, and such lien shall have priority as of the time it is filed.
(5) The political subdivision that filed any Notice of Lien may, in its sole discretion and at any time and without receiving payment of all charges owed by the chargeable, release from the lien created hereby any or all parcels of real property owned by the chargeable by filing a writing to that effect with the prothonotary, and such release shall be without prejudice to the right of the political subdivision to collect the remainder of any charges from any real property of the chargeable that is subject to the lien created under this subsection (b) and has not been so released. Any release, whether partial or complete, shall be noted in the index for Notices of Lien.
(6) A Notice of Lien shall be ineffective as of the date all charges owed by the chargeable have been paid in full, subject to paragraph (b)(7) of this section.
(7) A Notice of Lien shall be effective for a period of 3 years after the date of filing such notice, unless the political subdivision files a subsequent Continuation of Lien against the same chargeable prior to the expiration of the 3-year period and in such event the lien created by the subsequent Continuation of Lien will have priority as of the date of filing of the previous Notice of Lien. A Continuation of Lien will be effective for a period of 3 years following the initial 3-year period of the Notice of Lien and shall constitute a lien against any real property acquired by the chargeable after the filing of the Notice of Lien, and located in the county in which the Notice of Lien was filed. No more than 1 Continuation of Lien may be filed for any 1 Notice of Lien, provided, however, that this limitation shall not preclude the later filing of a new Notice of Lien against the chargeable which shall be effective and have priority as of the date of such later filing.
(8) Upon written notice by the chargeable to the political subdivision that all charges for which the Notice of Lien was filed have been paid, the political subdivision shall enter a satisfaction of record on the Notice of Lien index.
(9) Nothing contained herein shall be deemed to affect or limit the ability of the political subdivision to collect any charge through any other legal procedure including, without limitation, proceedings pursuant to a Writ of Monition.
(10) All liens for the nonpayment of charges (including any created pursuant to § 8701 of Title 9), other than the lien upon the real property against which the charge was levied or imposed as provided in subsection (a) of this section, are hereby extinguished, provided, however, that this subsection shall not affect any lien obtained by any political subdivision prior to October 5, 1990, by any legal procedure including, without limitation, proceedings pursuant to a Writ of Monition.
15 Del. Laws, c. 476; 16 Del. Laws, c. 141; 19 Del. Laws, c. 556; Code 1915, § 2870; 40 Del. Laws, c. 238, §§ 1-3; Code 1935, § 3351; 25 Del. C. 1953, § 2901; 62 Del. Laws, c. 374, § 1; 67 Del. Laws, c. 127, § 3; 67 Del. Laws, c. 445, § 1; 68 Del. Laws, c. 279, §§ 1-3; 70 Del. Laws, c. 431, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 387, §§ 2-5; 74 Del. Laws, c. 382, §§ 1-3; 75 Del. Laws, c. 212, §§ 3-5; 75 Del. Laws, c. 331, § 3; 81 Del. Laws, c. 162, § 2.;
§ 2902 Attachment of lien to proceeds of sale.
In case any real estate upon which a tax lien exists is sold by an order of the Court of Chancery directing an executor or administrator to sell the real estate to pay the debts of a deceased person or is sold by virtue of an execution process, such tax lien shall be transferred to the fund arising from such sale in the hands of the officer making the sale, and the real estate so sold shall be discharged therefrom. If the fund is not sufficient to pay and discharge the tax lien, by reason of the real estate having been sold subject to another or other lien or liens created by the taxable, the unpaid balance of the tax shall remain a lien upon the land so sold.
§ 2903 Duration of lien.
(a) In New Castle County all taxes assessed against real estate shall continue a lien against the real estate within the County for 10 years from July 1 of the year for which the taxes were levied, but if the real estate remains the property of the person who was the owner at the time it was assessed, the lien shall continue until the tax is collected.
(b) In Kent and Sussex Counties the lien for county and state taxes shall remain a lien for the period of 2 years from July 1 of the year in which such tax has been imposed and no longer, and the lien for school taxes shall remain a lien for the period of 2 years from August 10 of the year in which the tax has been imposed and no longer, and the lien for town or municipal taxes shall remain a lien for the period of 2 years from the date prescribed by the charter of the town or city for the delivery of the duplicate of the town or city to the collector thereof and no longer. The collectors, in collecting taxes out of real estate upon which they are a lien under the provisions of § 2901 of this title, shall proceed in the manner prescribed by law for the collection of taxes out of real estate.
15 Del. Laws, c. 476; 16 Del. Laws, c. 141; 19 Del. Laws, c. 556; 20 Del. Laws, Appendix, page 8, § 11; Code 1915, §§ 1152, 2870; 33 Del. Laws, c. 82, § 2; 40 Del. Laws, c. 135, § 1; 40 Del. Laws, c. 238, §§ 1-3; Code 1935, §§ 1348, 3351; 25 Del. C. 1953, § 2903.;
§ 2904 Payment of taxes by lienholder; action for collection.
Any person having a lien upon any real estate located within the State may pay to the parties entitled thereto any taxes which are by law liens upon or against the real estate. Any person who has paid any such taxes shall be entitled to receive the full amount of such taxes so paid from the owner of the property or properties upon which the taxes were a lien and may proceed in any court of competent jurisdiction to collect the same in a civil action for money paid out and expended for the use of the defendant.
§ 2905 Action by lienholder to collect tax lien; amount of recovery; affidavit of demand.
In any action brought to collect any lien upon real estate located within this State, the lienholder shall obtain in the final judgment in the cause the amount of money paid on account of the taxes levied upon the real estate covered by such lien or liens, provided there is set forth in the affidavit of demand filed in the action an itemized list of the taxes paid, the total amount of the payments, that the taxes were justly and truly due at the time of payment and that attached to the affidavit of demand are original and duplicate tax receipts from the officer to whom such taxes were paid. The affidavit of demand shall be filed as any other affidavit of demand is or shall be required to be filed in such proceeding. If judgment has been obtained prior to the payment of the taxes, then, and in that event, such affidavit of demand shall be filed in the office where such judgment is recorded and the amount thereof shall be noted on all writs issued in execution of such judgment or judgments and shall be collected and paid by the officer to whom such writ of execution is issued before any other part of such judgment is paid except only the costs taxed on the proceedings as shown on the writ and any amount of taxes levied and unpaid which constitute a lien on the real estate.
§ 2906 Priority of liens of the State and political subdivisions on real estate; extinction of such liens.
(a) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (b) of this section, liens for taxes and other government charges levied and imposed by the State or its political subdivisions, which liens are assessed against real property, shall be equal in status, regardless of the time of assessment of said lien; no such lien shall have priority over any other such lien in the distribution of proceeds of the sale of real estate pursuant to a writ of venditioni exponis, levari facias or any other process or order of any court resulting in a sheriff's sale. In the event that the proceeds of a sheriff's sale are insufficient to satisfy all such liens encumbering the property sold, then the State and/or its political subdivisions holding such liens shall share that portion of the proceeds of the sheriff's sale allotted to such liens on a prorata basis.
(b) In the event that real property is sold to the State or any of its political subdivisions pursuant to a writ of venditioni exponas, levari facias or any other process or order of any court resulting in a sheriff's sale and such writ or process was filed by the entity purchasing the real property, then the liens of the purchasing entity shall have priority over all other liens of the State or its political subdivisions and in the event that the proceeds of the sheriff's sale are insufficient to satisfy all liens of the State or its political subdivisions encumbering the real estate, the liens of the purchasing entity will be paid to the extent funds are available for such purposes and the remaining funds, if any, shall then be distributed on a prorata basis to other governmental entities having such liens on the real estate sold, in full satisfaction of all such liens.
(c) When real property is sold pursuant to a writ of venditioni exponas, levari facias or any other process resulting in a sheriff's sale, said writ having been filed by the State or any of its political subdivisions, the purchasing party, other than the original owner, shall take the property free and clear of any and all liens on such real property, including liens of the State and/or its political subdivisions whether or not such liens have been fully satisfied from the proceeds of the sale.
(d) Except as specifically provided herein, nothing in this section shall be construed as affecting the order or priority of payment of any other liens, charges, costs or other debts against real estate sold at a sheriff's sale or the effect of such a sheriff's sale on the quality of title of real estate sold as provided in any other statute or ordinance of this State or its political subdivisions.
(e) All liens of the State or any of its political subdivisions encumbering real estate sold at a sheriff's sale prior to July 10, 1980, and purchased by the State or any of its political subdivisions at such sale are hereby extinguished; provided, however, that such lien existed at the time of said sheriff's sale.
(f) Nothing in this section shall affect the priority of any liens not of the State or any of its political subdivisions which existed of record on or prior to July 10, 1980.