Property transfers and sales begin with the settlement meeting between the buyer and the seller. Prior to this meeting, the settlement attorney is responsible for researching the amount of taxes or other fees or liens on the property. At settlement, the purchaser is responsible for ensuring that any taxes, fees or liens for which the seller is responsible are paid from the proceeds of the sale. Any such delinquencies that are overlooked at settlement and remain on the property become the responsibility of the new owner.
After the settlement, the deed for the property is changed to reflect the new owner and is recorded with the City of Charlottesville Circuit Court. When the deed has been recorded, the court relays the new owner information to the Real Estate Assessor. The Real Estate Assessor then provides the Treasurer's Office with the new information.
According to Code of Virginia, real estate property is assessed for the entire year in the name of the owner as of January 1st. As a result, the name of the owner as of January 1st appears on the tax bills for the property for the entire year, regardless of when the property is sold or transferred during the year. Bills for the following year will appear in the new owner's name only, as he or she will be the owner of record on January 1st of that year. Thus, finding the old owner's name on your tax bill does not indicate a problem with the ownership record on your property.