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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Mark and Kelly Hunt signed a promissory note, secured by a deed of trust on real property in Montgomery County, payable to Associates Home Equity Services Co., in 1996. The Hunts used the property as their homestead, but the did not pay property taxes on it, so the Tomball Independent School District got a judgment against the Hunts for the delinquent property taxes. Associates was joined as a defendant but did not pay the taxes. The property was sold at a tax sale to satisfy the school district’s tax lien. Bobby Granger purchased the property, and the Hunts redeemed the property from him pursuant to Tax Code 34.21(c). Associates posted the property for a foreclosure sale. The Hunts brought a court action to stop it. In their motion for summary judgment, the Hunts argued that the school district’s tax lien was superior to Associate’s mortgage lien, and the tax foreclosure sale extinguished Associate’s lien. The trial court enjoined the foreclosure. HOLDING:Reversed and remanded. The court reviews the law of redemption, noting that a purchaser at a tax sale receives a conditional estate subject to defeat upon “compliance with the redemption laws by those entitled to redeem.” The court notes a policy in various appellate court precedent not to interpret redemption statutes in a way that strengthens a delinquent taxpayer’s title. Here, the Hunts admit the mortgage debt still exists, but they argue it is now unsecured. But redemption merely relieves the property of the tax sale. “When the Hunts redeemed the property, they restored the title to what it was before the tax sale, except the tax lien has been discharged. They did not discharge their agreement with Associates reflected in the deed of trust. . . . The Hunts’ ownership of the property was subject to Associates’ deed of trust. That ownership is what they redeemed. The deed of trust is a valid lien on the property after the Hunts’ redemption.” OPINION:Gaultney, J.; McKeithen, C.J., Burgess and Gaultney, JJ. DISSENT:Burgess, J. “What the majority has done is judicially create an exception to the long standing rule that the foreclosure of a superior lien . . . extinguishes all inferior liens[,] . . . claiming the rule should not apply in the redemption arena.” The dissent says that there is no reason to describe “the mischief that might be created between third party purchasers at tax sales and potential redemptors towards lien holders to avoid the”foreclosures at tax sales do not extinguish liens’ rule established by the majority or even the mischief that might be created between lien holders and potential redemptors towards third-party purchasers.” Suffice it to say, the dissent continues, the potential exists where it wouldn’t have absent the majority’s ruling.

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