Before anyone has a heart attack, we were able to resolve both. Here's the short version:
One transaction closed in 2005. Our insured homeowner just received a statement for delinquent street light fees for the years 2000 through 2003. He thankfully contacted our office rather than paying the bill. We looked at the file and found that the tax collector had verified 2004 as paid and told us to check with the tax claim bureau for prior years. We did and received a certification free of liens. We also got a municipal lien letter from the township which was clear - no unfiled lienable items outstanding.
So what happened? It turns out that the township sends street light delinquencies to a separate collection agency and these folks just got around to making a try for collection now, in 2008. I resolved the matter by pointing out that the township could have filed a lien within 3 years but that time had expired and also that they had an obligation to disclose the delinquencies in their lien letter. They agreed and are dropping the matter.
The other transaction was a foreclosed property that had just closed. We obtained a current year tax certification and a certification from the company who handles delinquent taxes. We collected taxes owing for the current year and also for a few prior years and closed. Upon receipt of our check, the tax collector called to say she had just turned last year's tax over to the collection service and that we owed that as well. We are pretty peeved because she had that knowledge and failed to disclose it. She had the gall to say "You didn't ask." - yoi.
Anyway, I can't fault the collection folks because they didn't have the information at the time we made the inquiry. Everything moved very quickly in preparation for this closing.
Resolution was made by the seller, the REO lender, making good. They stepped up to the plate and are paying the tax.
Our consumers in both instances were entirely covered and not at risk because they had purchased owner title insurance.