Real Estate Law
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That depends on whether you are the primary lender on the property. This is what would define your position. A title search would reveal all lien holders on the property.
Theoretically, if you owned the property outright and then mortgaged it to him, you would be the pri***** *****en holder and in 1st place. Only the back taxes would be an issue for you as the county can foreclose and sell the property at auction (unless you paid the taxes off).
However, you are correct in that nothing can really be done without your authorization, even as a secondary lien holder (which you may or may not be given the facts you provided).