Here are welcome words for eligible Detroit residents with unpaid property taxes: "We want to keep these homeowners where they are."
The speaker, quoted by Michigan Radio, is Daniel Rosenbaum, executive director of the Wayne County Land Bank. He's talking about a new way for some low-income debtors to avoid being uprooted by tax foreclosure, starting early next year.
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.
A key caveat: The program is only available to people who have a 100% property tax exemption from the city of Detroit when they apply. That’s offered to many homeowners who meet the income eligibility requirements (maximum of $26,104 for a family of four).
Impoverished people who're exempt from new property levies have no way to erase county tax debts, Rosenbaum recognizes:
"They're basically not delinquencies that are going to be collected. They're delinquencies that are more likely than not to lead to foreclosure."
His agency is "trying to promote stability in the community, trying to promote stability for residents of the community and trying to support stability for the properties in that community,” the director tells Sarah Cwiek of the public radio group based in Ann Arbor.
Lots of residents could qualify for the break. "Tens of thousands of city properties still enter the tax foreclosure cycle every year," Cwiek posts. "Wayne County sent out around 34,000 foreclosure notices in Detroit last year."