Rep. Conyers Calls For Moratorium On Property Tax Foreclosures In Wayne County

Detroit – June 9, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Today, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) released the following statement urging a moratorium on property tax foreclosures and improved access to services for Detroiters facing today’s deadline:

“Today is the final day for anyone facing property tax foreclosure to get assistance. I urge any Detroiter who thinks they might be facing foreclosure by Wayne County to visit the Wayne County Treasurer’s office at 400 Monroe Street in Detroit, call 313-224-5990 or email at . For more complex issues with property tax foreclosures, call the United Community Housing Coalition at 313-963-3310, or their emergency number at 313-405-7726. Today may be your last chance.”

“I remain gravely concerned over the fate of the tens of thousands of Wayne County residents that could lose their homes to property tax foreclosure. While I greatly appreciate the hard work done by the Wayne County Treasurer’s office to keep people in their homes, including providing an extension, additional time is needed to protect our residents from being kicked out of their homes. Detroiters already suffered through a foreclosure crisis caused by the discriminatory lending policies and incompetence of our nation’s biggest lending institutions. We cannot tolerate another round of foreclosures and evictions – much less one carried out by our local government that has a duty to serve our citizens.”

“Despite the economic hardship faced by many Detroit families, too many Detroit homeowners are being obligated to pay taxes when they are eligible for a statutorily-mandated poverty exemption. Furthermore, the City of Detroit has not carried out its duty under Michigan’s Constitution (Art. IX, § 3.) to assess the actual value of properties on an annual basis. The failure of local authorities to fulfill these two legal requirements means that many homeowners owe inaccurate and unreasonable amounts in property taxes—in some cases, the owed taxes exceed the actual value of the home.”

“Finally, foreclosing on occupied homes actually hinders the goal of raising revenue. Selling these homes at auction only gathers a tiny fraction of the revenues owed in taxes, while the eviction of families from their homes increases blight, depresses surrounding property values, and destabilizes neighborhoods. For these reasons, I strongly urge Wayne County Treasurer Raymond Wojtowicz to immediately implement a moratorium on property tax foreclosures until there is an appropriate remedy for these families and our community.”

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As of last month, 31,000 properties were facing property tax foreclosure in Wayne County, and about 9,000 of those properties are occupied, according to Wayne County Chief Deputy Treasurer David Szymanski. Detroit’s Loveland Technologies estimated that, of the 58,000 blighted properties in Detroit, 50,000 of them were impacted by tax foreclosure. An investigation by The Detroit News into area home sales and property value assessments found homes that were sold for under $100 were valued by local authorities at nearly $46,000.

On May 27, Congressman Conyers hosted a tele-town hall on the property tax foreclosure crisis featuring representatives of the County Treasurer’s office and other legal assistance organizations, in which over 8,600 Wayne County residents participated.

Those facing property tax foreclosure are urged to immediately seek help by visiting the County Treasurer’s Office at 400 Monroe Street in Detroit, calling 313-224-5990 or emailing . For more complex issues with property tax foreclosures, residents can call the United Community Housing Coalition at 313-963-3310, or their emergency number at 313-405-7726.

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