DIAL DALFRED: A Lafayette woman in a battle for her home over a grass cutting clerical error

Dial Dalfred

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) A Lafayette woman is hoping to wake up from a years-long nightmare after finding out she was being evicted from the home she owns and has lived in for 25 years.

How a clerical error nearly left this single mother of two homeless in tonight’s Dial Dalfred report.

It’s not uncommon for a municipality to send property owners a bill if government employees have to cut their grass. What is abnormal is the grass-cutting lien being placed on the wrong property.

The city of Carencro cut Theresa Guillot’s vacant lot on Kate Road, but it’s her home of 25 years on Roger Road in Scott that has the lien.

“It should have clearly been just an easy fix but it wasn’t, it ended up a nightmare”, said Theresa Guillot, who goes by “Kim”.

According to court documents, in August 2015, the city of Carencro sent Theresa and her ex-husband a notice of assessment of grass cutting and lien.

Its a lien Theresa says she wasn’t aware of until July, 2018 when she returned home to an eviction notice on her door.

“They ended up removing my homestead exemption in my residence in Scott. My property is in Carencro, homestead exemption was removed, taxes were created on my residence in Scott” Guillot said.

The alleged failure to pay taxes prompted P&G Real Estate to step in.

A statement we obtained from P&G regarding the issue reads:

“P&G didn’t put the lien on the property. P&G purchased the rights to the property at a valid tax sale.”

The Tax Deed purchased at the Sheriff Sale is valid and uncontested. Ms. Guillot chose not to address the Tax Assessment, Tax Bill, Tax Deed, or Redeem the property in the times allotted for by law.

Had she paid her property tax on the Kate Rd property in the last decade the assessment for the grass lien never would have been put on her other property as allowed by law. LA RS 47:337.65.

Kim told us “The acquisition company involved paid taxes for three years and claimed to own my home in Scott.”

P&G, like other companies, pays backed taxes on properties and becomes the new owner if the current owner fails to ‘redeem’ the acquirer within usually 6 months for most properties. Which is why Guillot says she paid, and the P&G realtors were sent a check
A check for $2,332.52. 

In December 2018, Guillot gave a check to the sheriff’s office to reimburse P&G for the taxes paid on the property from 2015 through 2017.

Still, her fight continues.

Attorney Lance Beal who is representing Guillot pro-bono said, “There’s a petition to annul the previous judgment. There’s nothing set at that point. Judge Duplantier granted a preliminary injunction to stop the sale of the house so it will probably be a while longer dealing with the civil process to try to hopefully unwind and correct this matter.”

While we were trying to figure out just how such a small error could snowball into someone nearly losing their home we reached out to the Lafayette Parish Tax Assessors, Conrad Comeaux.

Comeaux said, “It’s a shame a case like this has gotten this far without someone in government fixing it. It shows cracks in government that we need to patch so people don’t lose their property inadvertently or through little fault of their own.”

As for Ms. Guillot, the next hearing to annul the judgment is April 12th.

If there’s an ongoing issue in your neighborhood or community or there’s a story you’d like me to investigate, send me an email at DialDalfred@klfy.com.

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