Last-minute court order saves many homeowners from tax foreclosures in Wayne County

Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree cited the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and a lack of federal assistance

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click to enlarge Houses on Detroit's east side. - Steve Neavling
Steve Neavling
Houses on Detroit's east side.

A judge on Tuesday accepted Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree’s request to halt tax foreclosures for many owner-occupied homes.

Sabree petitioned the 3rd Circuit Court to prevent foreclosing on houses that owe delinquent taxes from 2017 to 2019, citing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Delinquent homeowners now have until March 31, 2023 to make good on their taxes.

“Our number one priority remains keeping people in their homes and too many Wayne County taxpayers are still suffering significant economic hardship due to the COVID-19 crisis,” Sabree said in a statement. “We also know that while many have applied for property tax relief from certain programs, they needed more time to compile appropriate paperwork. So, we continue to make some allowances considering the pandemic.”

About 1,800 owner-occupied houses were on the foreclosure list for delinquent taxes between 2017 and 2019, and most of them are in Detroit.

The judge’s order does not impact homes where homeowners are delinquent on taxes prior to 2017.

Sabree’s office has been encouraging delinquent taxpayers to take advantage of the Michigan Homeowners Assistance Fund (MIHAF), which provides relief to people who have a qualified financial hardship. Anyone who is eligible and fills out the paperwork will have their homes removed from the foreclosure list.

“It’s important that individuals still apply because through MIHAG, it can not only eliminate back property tax debt, but also halt the accrual of interest,” Sabree said. “Our hope is that a significant number of Wayne County residents will qualify for this relief.”

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About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
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