A decade or so ago, before Michigan’s “one state recession” and the more recent depression, the State “streamlined” the process for local units of government to take real property if the owner did not pay property taxes. Finally, the State has followed with an installment plan arrangement to help qualifying owners keep their property. The new law, effective January 2015, provides a lifeline to those who own and occupy a dwelling as their principal residence.
If the home owner is behind on property taxes, the local unit of government can withhold the property from tax foreclosure if the home owner’s total household resources are below the federal poverty standards and the property owner keeps up with an installment plan. If the property owner does keep up with the installment plan, the local unit of government can waive additional interest. A nice carrot.
However, if the property owner does not keep up with installments, the property must be included in the next round of foreclosures and interest must be added. These are powerful sticks.
This installment plan option can be a great help for a property owner suffering temporary hardship. Or time to sell the property. A property owner who needs this relief should contact the local taxing authority to request an installment plan and not wait for them to offer the lifeline.