Escrow Accounts FAQs
Some property owners ask mortgage companies, banks or other lending institutions to establish escrow accounts to pay property taxes. When such an arrangement is made, the taxpayer is still responsible for ensuring that the tax payment is made. The information on this page will assist taxpayers in monitoring their mortgage holders to ensure that tax payments are made on time and in full.
- Can a mortgage company pay a property owner's property tax?
Yes. Usually at closing, the buyer and lender agree to set up an escrow account for that purpose. The bank estimates what taxes will be due and adds the necessary amount to your mortgage payment. When the taxes are due, the bank should pay the installment on your behalf.
- Who gets the property tax bills?
It is important that the property owners see where their taxes are going and see that they receive all exemptions available to them. For these reasons, bills are usually sent to the owners. If the mortgage company requests the original billing, they must mail a copy of the tax statement to their borrowers within 15 days of their receipt of the bill. Thru various methods arranged between the mortgage companies and the Treasurer's Office, mortgage companies receive records of tax payments due for their customers.
- Are there risks to paying through a mortgage company?
Yes. Sometimes both the company and the homeowner pay the taxes. If you are not sure whether you are paying taxes through your mortgage escrow, call the lender. Do not double-pay. A company also may fail to pay the taxes or may pay on the wrong parcel number. For these reasons, you should check the payment status of your property taxes to confirm that the company has made a payment after each installment is due.
- What if neither the mortgage company nor the homeowner pays the taxes?
Taxes and penalties are still due. If payment is delayed too long, delinquent taxes could be offered for sale, which could result in loss of property. If you are current on escrow and the company fails to pay on time or on the correct parcel number, state and federal laws require the lender to pay any late penalties or fees. Your escrow account should also be reimbursed by the company for any money removed from your escrow that is paid on the wrong parcel number.
- How can the owner avoid such problems?
Homeowners must stay aware of their property-tax payment status by checking with the mortgage company. When a tax installment is due, a homeowner should verify the parcel number with the company to make sure the correct property taxes are to be paid.