A class action lawsuit, which had been previously filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against both Wayne County and the City of Detroit, was settled on July 3. Upon its signing, Wayne County homeowners who’d failed to pay property taxes would longer be in peril of losing their homes to foreclosure anymore.
As part of the settlement, homeowners who are in the rears on property taxes will now be able to pursue one of three different options to save their homes from foreclosure.
They’ll be able to contact the United Community Housing Coalition to sign up for a payment plan to pay their taxes off without any interest or they can simply pay $1,000 toward the balance owed. Poor homeowners may find it easier to qualify for an exemption under the Homeowners Property Tax Assistance Program as well.
Prior to the settlement, the ACLU had estimated that tens of thousands of homeowners, many of which of which were African-American, had lost their homes for not paying county property taxes. They’d argued that many didn’t pay because the home values used to determine the tax rates were more inflated than they should have been.
An ACLU spokesperson said that, with the settlement in place, many Detroit residents will now be able to stay in their homes. The city’s mayor says that his workers are ready to work with homeowners to make sure that happens.
Now that the settlement has come down, the city has been ordered to make contact with all its residents who own homes worth $95,000 to advise them that they may qualify for tax relief. Those already facing foreclosure had until July 13 to qualify for these programs.
One recent Coalition to End Unconstitutional Tax Foreclosures report suggested that, in between 2009 and 2015, as much as 85 percent Michigan’s properties had their tax rates assessed in violation of the state’s constitution. Another report published in Detroit News suggested that as many as 100,000 homes in Detroit were foreclosed on between 2011 and 2015 for having unpaid property taxes.
A foreclosure can greatly affect your credit and your ability to purchase a home in the future. An experienced Trenton real estate transactions attorney may suggests that it’s in your best interest to negotiate a short sale of your home if you’re unable to repay your mortgage.