The Wayne County Treasurer’s Office has announced a halt on property tax foreclosures of owner-occupied residential properties this year through the end of March 2024.
About 3,400 such homes were subject to foreclosure, according to a Friday news release from the Treasurer’s Office. The decision was made by 3rd Circuit Court Chief Judge Patricia Fresard. The move only protects owner-occupied properties with a principal residence exemption and homeowners are still responsible for paying property taxes.
“Our No. 1 priority remains keeping people in their homes, and we want to give Wayne County property taxpayers — many of whom are still feeling the effects of the COVID-19 virus — additional time to apply for funding that can assist them with holding on to their property,” Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree said in a news release.
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.
Sabree has previously said he expects all tax foreclosures to take place this year because there are financial resources available for taxpayers, such as the federally funded Michigan Homeowner Assistance Fund (MIHAF) and the poverty tax exemption. The Treasurer joined housing advocates earlier last month pushing residents to apply for the program ahead of a foreclosure deadline.
Friday’s announcement falls in line with past court orders throughout the pandemic exempting some properties from foreclosure.
The Treasurer’s Office directed taxpayers to the MIHAF program. So far, more than $13 million has gone to 5,500 residents in Wayne County to pay back delinquent property taxes.
For more information about MIHAF, go to https://bit.ly/MIHAFProgram or call the MIHAF help line at 844-756-4423.
Nushrat Rahman covers issues related to economic mobility for the Detroit Free Press and Bridge Detroit as a corps member with Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project. Make a tax-deductible contribution to support her work at bit.ly/freepRFA.