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Fighting a Property Tax Foreclosure

Owning a home brings a lot of benefits – the ability to decide how and when to use and update your property, and the peace of mind that the landlord will decide not to renew your lease when it is convenient for him/her. However, with the freedom of owning a home comes the financial obligation to pay real estate property taxes on an annual basis. Now, it is no secret that the economy in Michigan has been depressed for some time, making it hard to find steady employment, and consequently, paying bills, like property taxes, may not be possible. If you do fall behind on your property taxes, the state will label the property owner delinquent and eventually foreclose on the home so it can be sold to recoup the unpaid taxes. If your property does enter foreclosure due to delinquency, everything is not lost. Royal Oaks real estate attorney John Little successfully recovered a client’s home even after it was sold in foreclosure at a sheriff’s auction, and he will fight to get the same result for you. Knowing the timeline for the foreclosure process and how to contest a sale at auction will enable you to better understand and coordinate with your attorney to save your home, so an overview of these issues will follow below.

Foreclosure Timeline

The process of forfeiting and foreclosing on delinquent properties in Michigan is a three year process. In addition to the property tax bill itself, forfeiture can be based on unpaid penalties, interest, and fees assessments levied up until the date of foreclosure. A good attorney, like John Little, will recognize this distinction and fight to have the delinquency lifted if the unpaid portion is solely based on fees and other penalties, and not the actual property tax amount. This year three period is broken up into three sections – delinquency, forfeiture and foreclosure. During the first year of delinquency, the property owner is assessed additional fees and penalties, but rights to the property are still in the name of the owner and not the government. Once the delinquency enters the second year, however, the property is forfeited to the county treasurer and additional fees and interest charges are assessed. In November of that same year, foreclosure proceedings begin and the property is officially foreclosed upon by the government on April 1st of the following, or third, year. At this point, the property owner loses legal rights over the property, and the government is free to sell it at auction. An experienced real estate foreclosure attorney will understand the government has many loopholes to jump through in order to take someone’s property and will look for deficiencies to challenge the validity of the foreclosure process. Real estate attorney John Little, serving clients throughout Southeastern Michigan, knows the intricacies of the foreclosure process and will hold the government accountable for failing to give property owners a fair chance at keeping their homes.

Contesting Sale

Before the government can foreclose on a property for unpaid taxes, it must provide notice and the opportunity to contest the foreclosure based on things like the property was exempt from taxation, the tax assessment was fraudulent, or the tax was paid. Courts have held that if the property owner does not receive notice of the foreclosure, he/she was denied due process and title must be returned. A knowledgeable real estate attorney realizes the importance of these legal requirements and will make sure any lapse is used to the owner’s advantage. Attorney John Little, working with clients in area around Walled Lake and Novi, fights to keep or regain title to property that went into foreclosure and will do the same for you.

Hire a Lawyer

Property foreclosure is a serious, and potentially permanent, legal process that must be handled quickly and efficiently to avoid a total loss of property rights. Little & Boylan, PLLC, representing clients throughout Southeastern Michigan, strives to help clients achieve the best possible outcome in these situations. Contact him at (248) 809-1402 to schedule a free phone consultation.