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.
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
sent to the owners. The mortgage company may use an online system to pay by wire
or obtain duplicate bills from the Treasurer's Office for a fee.
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 pay on the wrong
Property Index Number (PIN), something that happens to more than 2,500 taxpayers
each year in Cook County. For these reasons, you should check the payment status
section of this website 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 your property. Remember:
If you are current with payments into your real estate tax escrow and the company
fails to pay on time or fails to pay the correct amount or fails to pay on the correct
PIN, state and federal laws require the lender to pay any late penalties or fees.
You should also be reimbursed by the company for any money taken from your escrow
that is paid on the wrong PIN.
How can the owner avoid such problems?
Homeowners must stay aware of their property tax payment status by checking online
or staying in contact with the mortgage company. When a tax installment is due,
a homeowner should check with the company to see on which PIN it is going to pay.