If neither your realtor or the title company can provide a solution then you should contact a real estate attorney
Title is always checked up to the day of closing and someone definitely missed it. This is rare and unfortunately you were one of the few. This is the reason you paid for Title Insurance and the reason it is called Insurance.
Good Luck and Stay on top of them.
California Land Title Association policies provide standard coverage to homeowners for defects found by examining public records, according to the California Department of Insurance. The CLTA is a non-profit organization of members of the insurance industry and develops title forms used to issue policies and endorsements. Examples of defects covered under a CLTA policy include unpaid taxes by a previous owner, someone claiming an easement through the property or a lien recorded with the county by a contractor who was never paid for his work. All of these claims could be found by searching through publicly available property records. According to the California Department of Insurance, a limited number of risks not found in public records are also covered under a CLTA policy.
Offering greater coverage than a CLTA policy is an ALTA residential policy, named for its originating organization, the American Land Title Association. The members of this national association for title insurers search, review and insure land titles while advocating a safe and efficient transfer of real estate. An ALTA policy provides the same coverage as a CLTA policy, as well as additional coverage for unrecorded defects in the title. A survey of the property may be conducted by the title insurance company prior to issuance of an ALTA policy, since it may insure against unrecorded encroachments and easements involving the boundary lines.
You need to find out what type of title insurance policy you have before you can do anything.
I am a broker in Florida and California and the taxes in Florida are paid in arrears. The bills do not go out for the previous year until November and you have until March of the following year to pay them. Since we use Title Companies to close as they all have attornies it would be in your best interest to call them. They can explain the process and if taxes are owed the title policy should cover their mistake if one was made.
I feel your pain. Did you use a Real Estate Agent? If so I would contact the agent that you used and get their help. Escrow should have made sure all property taxes were prorated to the date of close of escrow. The Title Report would have shown that the taxes were still owed as well. If you did not use an agent , look at the final closing statement, and call the escrow officer that handled the file. Hope that helps! Are you still in Carmel Valley? I know this is hard to handle across the country. Let us know if you have any further questions!