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tax foreclosure

duggan with tapscott posing for cameras
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

In a ceremony at Detroit’s Northwest Activities Center on Wednesday, a small handful of Detroiters regained homes lost to property tax foreclosure.

The group of 60 was the second to complete the Detroit Land Bank’s “occupied buy-back” program. About 80 people completed the program last month.

The Detroit Land Bank now has close to 100,000 properties in its inventory, making it the largest property owner in the city. Around 4,000 of them are thought to be occupied.

Mayor Mike Duggan handing Kiya Snapp the deed to her house after she completed the occupied buy back program
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Eighty Detroit families are regaining ownership of their homes, after nearly losing them to foreclosure.

This is the first group of families to complete the Detroit Land Bank’s “occupied buy back” program that sells Land Bank-owned homes to people rather than kick them out.

A new study shows that as many as 85% of homes in Detroit might have been taxed at rates that violate the Michigan Constitution.
BasicGov / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The tax foreclosure crisis in Detroit may not get the attention it deserves. In fact, the tax foreclosure crisis didn’t just happen, and it doesn't continue to happen, by unfortunate circumstances. There are decisions behind it. One group says those decisions are illegal.

Foreclosure is a real risk for thousands struggling to pay back taxes
BasicGov / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

In Wayne County alone, some 10,000 properties are scheduled to be auctioned off this fall because of back taxes, according to Treasurer Eric Sabree. It’s a massive problem affecting people across the Metro Detroit area, and county officials are pushing homeowners to see if they can qualify for federal help.

Michigan still has one of the highest rates of juvenile lifers in the country.
Thomas Hawk / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A Senate subcommittee has passed a budget cutting the Department of Corrections' budget by $40 million. The department says that would mean cutting jobs and programs to fight recidivism. Both Republicans and Democrats want to see lower prison populations.

Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss whether this plan could get bi-partisan support.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The clock is ticking on homeowners in Wayne County who received tax foreclosure notices. They have until June 7 to either pay their taxes or sign up for a payment plan.

Brandy Gutierrez was evicted from her house in Lincoln Park. She says no one told her it had gone into tax foreclosure until it was too late.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

In Wayne County, tens of thousands of properties go into tax foreclosure every year.

Most are in Detroit. But it happens in the suburbs too.

Some suburban communities have started buying those tax-foreclosed homes, and turning them over to developers.

But many of the affected homeowners didn’t know that until it was too late to save their homes.

Some tried to fight anyway. But this month, that fight came to a bitter end.

A map shows the link between water debt and property tax foreclosures in Detroit.
We the People of Detroit Community Research Collective

New citizen-led research is drawing a link between two of Detroit’s biggest social crises: water service shutoffs, and property tax foreclosures.

The We the People of Detroit Community Research Collective gathered that data for its report “Mapping the Water Crisis: The Dismantling of African American Neighborhoods in Detroit.”

Detroit’s aggressive and controversial water shutoff policy for delinquent households was ramped up during the city’s bankruptcy, and has continued with some modifications since then.

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

The first thing you notice about the street in front of Walter Hicks' home is it's peaceful.  There are lots of trees, chirping birds, and most of the lawns are mowed.  

But then you see that the houses on either side of Hicks' home are boarded up. And there are lots of boarded up homes all down the street. 

That doesn't seem to put even a little dent in his pride of ownership.

Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree.
Wayne County

Some breaks for Michigan homeowners struggling to pay property taxes have expired.

Governor Snyder signed laws in 2015 that reduced interest and other penalties on delinquent taxes. They also reduced back taxes for some homeowners who owed much more than their properties were worth.

That was largely meant for Wayne County, and especially Detroit, where tens of thousands of properties enter the tax foreclosure process every year.

Foreclosure sign
Jeff Turner / Michigan Radio

A Detroit woman is fighting to win back her home of 40 years.

Wayne County foreclosed on Mary Sanders' home over about $1,200 in unpaid taxes and fees.

The home was purchased for $2,300 in a tax auction last fall by Chris Meyer, a California-based developer who owns CDM Real Estate, Inc., in Ann Arbor.

Sanders says she was unaware she owed outstanding taxes. Sanders, 80, also qualified for tax exemptions based on her age and income that she says she was not informed about.

Joe Gratz / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A federal judge has given some Wayne County homeowners suing over alleged illegal foreclosures a partial, early victory.

U.S. District Court Judge Judith Levy granted a temporary restraining owner protecting three families from eviction at least through mid-January.

The families are part of a larger federal lawsuit that alleges officials from Wayne County and several Detroit suburbs illegally “conspired” to seize their homes through tax foreclosure, and sell them off to private developers.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Eighteen people are suing Wayne County and several Detroit suburbs, alleging their homes were illegally taken in a tax foreclosure process that amounted to a “thinly veiled scheme” for “private profit.”

All the homeowner-plaintiffs in this case had their properties foreclosed by Wayne County over back taxes.

And in each case the cities they lived in, exercising their “right of first refusal” under Michigan tax law, reclaimed the properties before they could go to auction. The cities then sold the homes to developers.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Wayne County auctions off tens of thousands of tax-foreclosed properties every year.

The county’s latest annual property auction wrapped up last week.

It’s a major event for budding Detroit real estate investors. Yet their wins can also be devastating losses for people living in those homes.

That's why a growing movement is trying to help some of them become winners, too.


via Loveland Technologies

Bidding on this year’s glut of tax-foreclosed homes in Wayne County has wrapped up.

Final numbers aren't available yet. But the annual auction has become a real estate mega-event in recent years, as tax foreclosures have soared and flooded the market with delinquent properties.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Round two of what’s become known as the “world’s largest municipal property auction” starts this week.

That would be Wayne County’s annual tax foreclosure auction.

More than 26,000 properties remain after the auction’s first round last month, when just over 2,000 properties sold.

The Tricycle Collective / via Facebook

 An online fundraising campaign is underway to help 20 Detroit families keep their homes.

The Tricycle Collective assists families facing property tax foreclosure in Detroit.

More than 25,000 Detroit properties are set to go on the auction block at this year’s Wayne County tax foreclosure auction.

An estimated 8,000 are occupied residential homes.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s two largest counties are illegally foreclosing on thousands of properties for delinquent taxes, according to class-action lawsuits filed this month.

Wayne and Oakland counties have both foreclosed on thousands of properties for unpaid taxes in recent years.

But in doing so they’ve denied property owners their due process rights, according to the lawsuits filed in circuit courts for both counties.

Charles & Adrienne Esseltine / Flickr

After months of outreach and efforts to avoid a massive foreclosure crisis, more than 32,000 Wayne County properties are still on track for the county’s annual property tax auction in the fall.

That’s 32,629 properties county-wide, according to the latest numbers from the Wayne County Treasurer’s office. 28,545 of those distressed properties are in Detroit, the heart of the delinquent property tax issues.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Wayne County has again extended the deadline for homeowners to avoid tax foreclosure.

Facing the prospect of an unprecedented foreclosure crisis, the county has expanded its outreach efforts to distressed homeowners, and had already moved back the original March payment deadline to Monday. 

House Foreclosure
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Thousands of Detroit and Wayne County homeowners face tax foreclosures.  Some of those families still have time to save their homes, but they might be paying more in taxes than they should have had to pay.

Foreclosed House
Brendel / Wikimedia Commons

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan is one of several organizations calling on Wayne County to halt tax foreclosures for thousands of properties.

This comes the same day the Wayne County Treasurer's Office announced a second deadline extension for residents to avoid losing their homes.

House Foreclosure
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

More than 30,000 Wayne County residents are facing tax foreclosure as a deadline extension comes to an end Tuesday.

The county extended the original March 31 deadline after issuing foreclosure notices to around 75,000 properties with delinquent taxes.

Brendel / wikimedia commons

Time is running out for Wayne County residents to get help with tax foreclosures.

County officials say thousands of people facing foreclosure have gotten on payment plans to avoid that — more than 7,500 in Detroit alone.

But the option is only available until the end of this month.

Loveland Technologies / via Why Don't We Own This?

A “hurricane without water” and a “looming disaster” — those are just two of the phrases that have been used to describe the unprecedented foreclosure crisis facing Detroit this year.

But this time, it’s not about banks and mortgages. It’s about unpaid property taxes, and efforts to patch up a system everyone admits had been broken for years.


Tricycle Collective / via Facebook

People living in homes owned by the Detroit Land Bank Authority should get a chance to buy them back.

That’s the message from the Tricycle Collective, a group that’s been helping Detroit families facing tax foreclosure.