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Picayune family’s house sold for $236 after housing lot mix-up

Pearl River County Tax Assessor documents show there were homes on both lots in the Hunters Trace Subdivsion, even though one was clearly empty.
Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 7:01 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 15, 2021 at 10:34 AM CDT
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PICAYUNE, Miss. (WLOX) - What’s in a number? Well, when it’s the difference between owning your house or an empty lot next door, it’s a lot.

A Picayune family was served notice last week that their home had been sold at a delinquent tax sale for $236. Now, the family is hoping for a solution that will let them keep their house, along with their money.

“As of right now, I do not own my home, Viking Investments does,” said Tiffany Ingram.

Viking Investments picked up the three bedroom, two bath home for a neat $236 at a delinquent tax sale. But they thought they were buying an empty lot.

Tiffany Ingram, left, and her mother, Ava Carver stand in front of the house in the Hunters...
Tiffany Ingram, left, and her mother, Ava Carver stand in front of the house in the Hunters Trace neighborhood in Picayune that Ingram bought in 2019.(John Fitzhugh)

“I owned the lot next to the house and not the lot the house was on,” said Ingram.

It seems the builder, Benchmark Home Builders built the house on the wrong lot. And since the builder sold the house, the company stopped paying taxes. Ingram, however, was paying taxes on an imaginary house next door.

Pearl River County Tax Assessor documents show there were homes on both lots in the Hunters Trace Subdivsion, even though one was clearly empty.

“They documented that there was a house on the vacant lot, and a house, obviously, where my house is,” said Ingram. “Instead of fixing it and saying that the house was in the wrong place.”

Meanwhile, the delinquent tax notices were not being delivered to anybody, and the county put the land up for sale. That brings us to last week.

I walked up to my front door, and I saw a note sticking out and it said Viking Investments and it gave me three days to leave,” said Ingram.

Making matters worse, the family had put the home up for sale recently and the ownership snafu has scared away five potential buyers.

Ingram isn’t getting answers from the county, builder or the investment company that now owns her house.

“They’re letting me freak out and feel like I’m homeless, and I just don’t think that’s right,” said Ingram.

WLOX News Now spoke to the developer and the investor who bought the property. Both assured us that they would find a way to resolve the problem without Ingram losing her house or any money.

An official with Pearl River County said the Tax Sale would be voided, but transferring the land deeds would be more difficult.

“Nobody has called me and said ‘hey, Miss Ingram, this is what we’re doing to fix this. We’ve got it handled, don’t freak out.’ Nobody’s reached out to me,” she said.

We asked the Tax Assessor to explain how the empty lot was assessed as if it had a house on it, we were referred to the County Attorney who didn’t return our request for comment.

There’s even more confusion about what’s where in the neighborhood. The address on Tiffany Ingram’s mailbox is number 88.

But when the power company came to hook up electricity, the worker told her the address was listed as number 80. Now, Ingram says she’s learned her house number should be 78.

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