Wayne County property tax foreclosure deadline nearing: What to know for those behind on payments

Wayne County property owners are nearing the March 31 deadline to have pay off back taxes, establish a payment plan, or risk their property going to auction later this year. 

Several thousand homes in Wayne County are at risk of foreclosure due to owners not paying delinquent tax debt.

While the March 31 deadline does mean the Wayne County Treasurer's Office will take over property of unsolved debts aren't paid or given a payment plan, renters will not have to leave the home. While the title of the home will transfer, the foreclosed properties will be made available for purchase by local municipalities before being put up for in September and October this year. 

During that time, tenants will have the opportunity to become homeowners themselves. They will not face eviction since the landlord will no longer own the property after April 1.

Here's everything to know:

Forfeiture/Foreclosure timeline

In 1999, Michigan shorted the time that property owners have to pay back taxes on a home before they lost ownership. The act reduced the time to pay the debt from five years to two years. 

On the current timeline, by April 1, all property in Wayne County with delinquent taxes that don't have a payment plan will be foreclosed and property owners lose all rights to the land. 

The title then transfers to the country treasurer. 

There were no foreclosures in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A further moratorium on foreclosures was extended after the Wayne County Treasurer asked the circuit court to defer them due to the pandemic. 

MORE: Advocates say overtaxing by Detroit is causing foreclosures, city disagrees

In between that time, organizations that advocate for residents struggling to pay debt have been pushing programs and resources to help owners stay afloat. 

MORE: Michigan homeowners can get help with mortgage payments

Wayne County property foreclosure March 31 deadline

According to the treasurer, when a property enters forfeited status, the owner will have one year to pay off debts before its foreclosed. 

But higher interest rates on the debt ranging from 1% to 1.5% a month goes into effect. There are other fees like a $175 foreclose fee and a $30 recording fee. 

If the property owner settles that debt or establishes a payment plan through the county, they will keep their home through the March 31 deadline. But on April 1, the title transfers to the treasurer. 

How to check the status of a property

On the Wayne County website, people can search a property by going to the website https://pta.waynecounty.com.

There, someone can enter the address of the property either by address or parcel ID. If they are typing in address, they'll need to select the municipality they live in. 

A list of properties likely to be foreclosed also exists on the website https://www.waynecounty.com/elected/treasurer. There is a section titled "Properties likely to be foreclosed" that when selected brings up a large document with every listed address where a title transfer is likely. 

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Setting up a payment plan

Property owners interested in keeping their home but still have a delinquency status on their taxes will need to set up a payment plan. There are many to choose from on the treasurer's website here

Options for eligible taxpayers include: 

  • The Stipulated Payment Agreement
  • Interest Reduction Stipulation Payment Agreement
  • Pay As You Stay Payment Agreement

If you have been approved for the PAYS program, please call (313) 244-0274, or go to https://waynemetro.tfaforms.net/4849141 for more information and to complete an application for possible financial assistance through the Detroit Tax Relief Fund.

Property owners can also set up a plan with the Distressed Owner Occupant Extension Payment plan: It will have to be made through:

  • Email at wctopaymentplans@waynecounty.com that includes the name, email address, phone number, and property address
  • Mail the plan to Wayne County Treasurer's Office, 400 Monroe Street, 5th Floor, Detroit, MI 48226

Payment plans are also open to first responders and veterans.