County Allows Tax Roll, but Misdemeanor to Contact Them with Intent to Purchase

Hi All - we’re working through our first couple of counties and gathering the tax delinquent lists, however, for the first two we’ve reached, we have been notified that mailing them with intent to purchase the property was illegal. The one assessor was even murky when we flat out asked - she said something along the lines of “feel free to interpret it how you want”. A few questions regarding this:

  • How common is this?
  • How heavily will a county/state enforce this?
  • Is there a way, based on language in your mailer, to avoid this? Like a more generic “I am purchasing properties in your area, call me if you’re interested in selling”.

The full language on the tax roll request document is below. I also could be misreading this; is it stating we can’t offer to sell them anything, or we can’t offer to buy anything from them?

In accordance with these provisions, I certify that I do no intend to, and will not, use
any list of names or address contained in or derived from public records for the purpose of
selling or offering for sale any property or service to any person listed or to any person who
resides at any address listed; neither will I sell, give, or otherwise make available to any
person any list of names or addresses contained in or derived from the records or information
for the purpose of allowing that person to sell or offer for sale any property or service to any
person(s) listed or to any person(s) who resides at any address listed, except under authority
of the limited circumstances.

Thanks for any help!

@akfujii If I read this literally - It says I certify I will not use the list to sell or offer to sell property or anything else to the persons on the list. I don’t see anything about it not being okay to offer to buy land. So, unless you are using the list to solict a neighbor sell - you may be okay. But, you could also consult an attorney.


@akfujii I’m having direct conversations with county assessors like “I would like to know who is dilenquent on their property taxes in your county so I can try to buy the property from them, and in the process settle the taxes due.”

And they give me a list in less than 24 hours.

If there’s any language in any clause that says “contacting anyone who is on public records is an offense” is un-enforcable to the point of lunacy. Every person in the state who pays property tax is on that list.

You found a home address and sent them a letter.

Just don’t blast out so much mail that it makes you worth pursuing.


@karljames Thanks for the feedback - that’s how I am interpreting it too but was seeing if anyone else had any thoughts. Appreciate it!

@cory Thanks for the response. I like the idea of mentioning settling the taxes. Money in the assessor’s pocket.

@akfujii like @Cory said, how would anyone ever be able to trace where you got the contact information from in the first place? Sounds like an absurd and unverifiable threat to me.

I suppose if your letter says, “I found your name in the public records”, then it’s a dead giveaway, so maybe don’t say that.

You don’t need to mention how you got their contact info, but if anyone asks, you could just say you looked it up online. Most counties, cities and townships make this kind of property tax lookup information easily accessible online anyway.

What state is this?
Yeah from what i see, that whole blurb is all about you not being able to sell to the people on that list and also not selling the list to someone else for the purpose of them trying to sell to the people on the list. There is absolutely nothing in there about trying to buy from them. That being said, I wouldnt be surprised if in the future the counties end up adding buying to that blurb. There are alot of wholesalers soliciting to buy people’s stuff and people get annoyed with that too. If enough people complain its possible they would try to limit that.


@donyost Just tell them that you got the info from a title company and divert their attention away from you.