Detroit property taxes | Michigan Radio
WUOMFM

Detroit property taxes

detroit homeowners file a lawsuit against the city for property tax over assessment
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A federal judge dismissed a class action lawsuit against the city of Detroit, Wayne County, and the state of Michigan over inflated property tax assessments in 2017.

Judge Nancy Edmunds cited the Tax Injunction Act, writing, "because there is a state remedy that is plain, speedy, and efficient, this Court, a federal court, lacks subject matter jurisdiction over these claims."

Attorneys for the plaintiffs are appealing the dismissal, arguing that clients' federal constitutional rights to due process were violated, therefore making federal court the right place to litigate the issue.

A neighborhood in Detroit
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

The city of Detroit is offering assistance to people applying for a property tax exemption at the TCF Center this week.

Detroit offers full and partial property tax exemptions to low-income homeowners who meet certain guidelines every year. In recent years, the city has made the program more accessible as a way to help people avoid losing their homes to tax foreclosure.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has rolled out a proposed plan he said would help many Detroiters who were overtaxed by the city between 2010 and 2013 due to property tax overassessments. The stated goal is to help Detroiters who were hurt by the overassessments, including many who lost their homes due to tax foreclosures. 

Five city council members have co-sponsored Duggan's proposal, and a resolution was introduced Tuesday at a formal session of the city council. 

doctor holding red stethoscope
Unsplash

Today on Stateside, a federal judge has invalidated Michigan's Medicaid work requirements. Republican leaders in the state Legislature are already pushing back. What does this mean for the more than 200,000 people in the state subject to those requirements? Plus, we'll talk about how the Democratic candidates for president stack up when it comes to addressing the concerns of black voters.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit needs to find some way to compensate homeowners who were over-taxed for years.

That’s what the Detroit City Council heard from a number of residents at a sometimes-emotional hearing Tuesday night.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The city of Detroit now faces a reckoning for its history of over-taxing homeowners—and a new class-action lawsuit.

The city admits it over-assessed many homeowners for years after the Great Recession, leading to inflated property tax bills. A recent Detroit News investigation pegged the amount of over-taxation at around $600 million from 2010-2016. Wayne County has foreclosed on around one-third of all Detroit properties since 2008.

City of Detroit

Detroit and Wayne County officials say a new program could help keep thousands of the lowest-income homeowners in their homes and out of tax foreclosure.

The plan, called Pay As You Stay (PAYS), calls for cutting the amount of money people owe on delinquent property taxes. It would reduce the balance to only those back taxes, or 10% of a home’s taxable value—whichever is less.

Some low-income Detroiters with property tax debt should soon get a chance to get that debt wiped out, thanks to a new program from the Wayne County Land Bank.

The program will work through a legal process called quiet title. The land bank will take ownership of the home. Then it will use quiet title to clear any debt attached to the property, and return the home to the former homeowners.

New Detroit property tax proposal is in the works

Oct 29, 2018
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Relief could be on the horizon for Detroit homeowners who missed their chance to apply for a property tax exemption. 

The Homeowners Property Tax Assistance Program offers relief to low income Detroit homeowners who can't afford their property taxes. But a lot of people don't know about it. And homeowners have to re-apply every year. 

delapidated Detroit house
Jason Paris / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Last week, the Detroit Free Press published an investigation detailing what happens to properties that are foreclosed upon because of delinquent taxes. It is a complicated tale with a now-predictable ending: previously well-kept houses deteriorate into blighted eyesores.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

One Detroit family celebrated getting a new home Thursday, as they also called for other families like them to receive similar compensation as victims of what they call “illegal” foreclosures.

Anti-foreclosure activists in front of Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree's home.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Anti-foreclosure protesters targeted Wayne County treasurer Eric Sabree where he lives—outside his Detroit home—on Thursday, calling for an end to “illegal” property tax foreclosures.

A report and lawsuit claims that Detroit over-assessed up to 85% of homes in the city from 2009-2015. That violates the Michigan state constitution, which caps local tax assessments at 50% of a property’s market value.

foreclosure sign
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.

Little Caesars Arena Construction site in downtown, with a Pistons banner
Tyler Scott / Michigan Radio

A federal lawsuit seeks to block some public funding of Little Caesars Arena in Detroit and a new Detroit Pistons headquarters without a vote from city residents.

The lawsuit Thursday says Michigan law prohibits spending school property tax revenue on the projects because a tax voters approved in 2012 was to be used exclusively for Detroit's public schools.

Property tax assessments mailed to Detroit residents show the wrong deadline for appealling. Officials extended the deadline to February 28th.
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

The city of Detroit has extended the deadline for residents to appeal their property tax assessments for this year. The city decided to extend the deadline because statements were sent out to residents later than usual, due to the city only recently competing its first re-assessment of property values in decades.

Statements mailed to residents still list the old deadline for appeal. At least one tax attorney worries residents will see the old deadline on their statements and think it’s too late to appeal.

A neighborhood in Detroit.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit homeowners should start seeing property tax bills that better reflect the true value of their home.

That’s because the city just finished its first city-wide residential property re-assessment in six decades.

The city says these new assessments are based on actual property sales from October 2014-September 2016, and other property-specific data.

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Calling all homeowners.

Did you know that if your income is below a certain level, you can receive tax exemptions on your property tax?

Michigan law calls for it under the General Property Tax Act.

More from the law:

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.

A house for sale on the Detroit Land Bank's online auction site.
Detroit Land Bank Authority

Most Detroit homeowners should see more relief on their property tax assessments this year.

The city has worked to bring tax assessments more in line with real housing values in the past couple years.

Now city officials say more than 90% of homeowners should see further reductions this year.

Karen Johnson-Moore lives in northwest Detroit, an area that should see up to 15% reductions in most neighborhoods.

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.

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.

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. 

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.


The Tricycle Collective / via Facebook

Most Detroit households should see some relief on their property assessments this year.

Mayor Mike Duggan’s office says about three-quarters of households should see their assessments knocked down 10-20%. Outside of 25 “stable neighborhoods” where the city believes property values are truly on the rise, all city homeowners should see some kind of relief.

Wayne County plans to foreclose on a record number of properties next year.

The county has begun issuing notices to almost 75,000 properties for delinquent taxes. Of those, more than 80%--about 62,000—are located in Detroit.

The county is required, by state law, to auction off all properties at least three years behind on property taxes.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The final round of the annual Wayne County property tax foreclosure auction closed on Tuesday.

This year, about 24,000 properties—the vast majority located in Detroit--were up for auction over two rounds.

The auction has become a real estate mega-event in recent years, as the number of tax-foreclosed properties has soared, and bidding moved online.

More than 7000 of the properties up for auction this year were believed to be occupied.

user memories_by_mike / Flickr

The pieces are falling into place for Detroit to eventually emerge from bankruptcy with a lot less of its budget-servicing debt. But the city of Detroit’s budget could still be a house of cards. Many of its revenue sources are not stable.

Bankruptcy does not mean Detroit escapes all of its money problems.

It’s heavily dependent on a city income tax. If another economic dip is around the corner, that source of revenue would shrink.

Casino taxes are stagnant.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Wayne County treasurer Raymond Wojtowicz’s office has filed a lawsuit to collect about $80 million in delinquent property taxes.

The irony is that these are taxes owed on properties the county once owned, but sold at auction after they were foreclosed on...for delinquent property taxes.

Why Don't We Own This? / Why Don't We Own This?

It's no secret that the city of Detroit and Wayne County have been hit hard by the double whammy of foreclosed and abandoned homes.

For owners of those homes — or those looking to buy as an investment — there's a resource available online: a website called Why Don't We Own This?

We wanted to find out more about the site, and what it means to owners, investors and the neighborhoods.

Listen to the full interview above.

Pages