Have you asked the bank(s) to consider your mortgage(s) for the HARP and/or the HAMP programs? You may qualify for these programs if you show "imminent" defaul and you do NOT have to be currently in default of your mortgage payments.
You can do the modifications on your own with the bank(s). However, if you need assistance, then contact http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/counselor.html
LA County allows homeowners up to 5 years to cure their back property payments. You may qualify for their payment plans. http://ttc.lacounty.gov/proptax/Delinquent_Information.htm
Not paying your property tax obligations only exasperates your current situation. So I would suggest that you at least try to make partial payments or arrange for a payment plan with the County.
I hope that you will be able to keep your home. If you do, then I would also recommend you to sign up with the bank to establish an escrow service (a very minimal cost to set up) for your annual property tax payments. This arragnement collects property tax due in monthly affordable payments along with the monthly mortgage payment due vs. getting a big lumpsum tax bill annually.
Let me know if you have any question about the HARP or the HAMP programs.
You have some very good posts here...and some that are not so ....
You are asking for legal advice, and only an attorney can provide legal advice.
Generally when you have a short sale in order for the lender to approve you need to show that you are broke, so in many cases owners are simply UNABLE to pay their expenses...including property taxes.
Normally in a short sale in ORDER to be approved you need to be broke. That means that if you have cash, the lender will expect you to pay what you have to them. IN a short sale you are asking the lender to take a loss on the loan, plus pay closing costs.
I would make very sure that you are making the best decision...there are legal entanglements that good occur.
First of all you should make sure you do not have an unusual bond which might make your county tax collector foreclose in and expedited manner.
Typically you can get a few years behind before the government in California will foreclose.
I like to tell clients property taxes are not personal debts, they are debts of the property.
So if you are letting the property go, and you are indifferent to a foreclosure or short sale, why pay?
Not paying the property taxes will make the short sale harder to close. Make sure your Realtor and Escrow officer are aware of the circumstances and see if this is going to effect the lender net. If the lenders net is effected, it may cause problems.
Generally someone is going to have to pay those taxes before the buyer takes title to the property. The lender may pay the property taxes, you may pay them, the buyer may pay them or perhaps one of the Realtors will pay them to close the deal.
If you do plan to pay them, you might want to pay them at the closing table instead of directly to the county tax collector. Why? Because the National Association of Realtors found that that most short sales fail to close. So unless you Realtor has a lengthy track record of closing short sales you should have back up strategies.
Whether you will be responsible to your lender for costs after a foreclosure is a much longer answer.
In short, talk to your tax office and then determine how much you really need to do that short sale. Paying the taxes makes the short sale more likely to happen. Your Realtor should be able to give you specifics.
No one on this forum can legally tell you anything other than to advise you to pay your obligations. However, I CAN tell you that many homeowners in your situation choose NOT to make the payments for their own reasons. I am not in any way telling you not to make your payments: I am simply reporting what some others have done in a similar situation. This is in no way a recommendation, suggestion or declaration of any kind. This answer does not constitute a legal response of any kind.