Feb 20, 2023
Resources available for Detroit taxpayers to avoid foreclosure: What to know
By Nushrat Rahman | Detroit Free Press
Resources are available for Detroiters who need help with their property taxes, as a tax foreclosure deadline approaches next month.
The city of Detroit and Wayne County Treasurer’s Office are hosting a resource fair at 1 p.m. Friday at the city’s Northwest Activities Center, where taxpayers can learn about their current and delinquent property taxes and assistance programs to stay in their homes. Representatives from DivDat, a bill payment processing company, will also be present.
The last day to fully pay delinquent property taxes owed for 2020 or prior years is March 31 and the deadline to get onto a payment plan is March 14, the Wayne County Treasurer’s Office said. Otherwise, they risk foreclosure.
Tax foreclosure is the process by which homeowners lose their property because they didn’t pay their property taxes for three years. The properties are then put up for sale at two public auctions in the fall.
Since 2020, the Wayne County Treasurer’s Office has had a range of foreclosure moratoriums, first exempting all foreclosures, then only occupied properties and then only certain owner-occupied homes, because of the economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year, Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree said he expects all tax foreclosures to take place because there are financial resources available for taxpayers, such as the federally funded Michigan Homeowner Assistance Fund and the poverty tax exemption.
“As it is today, I would say that foreclosures are going to proceed according to the state law,” he said last week.
Last year, 378 owner-occupied properties ended up in the fall auction, owing about $5.5 million in unpaid taxes including auction costs, according to data provided by the treasurer’s office last month. More than 1,300 non-owner-occupied properties, such as rentals, were foreclosed, with about $13.7 million in delinquent taxes owed and other costs. The majority of the properties were in Detroit.
Winter property taxes were due Jan. 15, according to a city news release. The deadline to pay summer taxes is Aug. 31.
How to get help
- The Detroit Taxpayer Resource Fair will take place Friday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Northwest Activities Center at 18100 Meyers Road in Detroit. For more information, email the Detroit Taxpayer Service Center at DTSC@detroitmi.gov. Homeowners should have their address and parcel number ready to share. Find that information at https://pta.waynecounty.com/.
- Through March 25, the Wayne County Treasurer’s Office will also be open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., in addition to regular business hours, for appointments. Go to https://www.waynecounty.com/elected/treasurer/contact-us.aspx.
- Taxpayers can still apply for the poverty tax exemption in some cities, Sabree said, and those who are living in a home they do not own — such as one of a deceased relative — should file a case in probate court with the help of legal aid agencies, and notify his office. For more information about payment plans, go to bit.ly/WayneCountyPaymentPlans or email the Treasurer’s Office at email@example.com. Income eligible owner-occupied homeowners can apply for the Michigan Homeowner Assistance Fund, or MIHAF, at Michigan.gov/MIHAF or call 844-756-4423 for additional help.