Eric Sabree Headshot

Sabree encourages troubled residents to apply immediately to save homes and money.

 Homeowners at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure due to unpaid property taxes have until June 30th to take part in the Interest Reduction monthly payment agreement offers to reduce interest rates on tax payment plans, according to the Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree.

With this special program deadline approaching, Treasurer Sabree urges homeowners in arrears to contact the Treasurer’s office immediately to avoid losing their homes.

“This is probably a once in a lifetime break,” Sabree said. “It is a great opportunity for people to reduce interest rates and save money and save their homes, and we would like to get as many people as possible into the Interest Reduction Stipulated Payment Agreement Program.”

In the program, homeowners are eligible to enter into payment plans at a reduced interest rate — 6%, compared to the usual 18% — and pay back overdue taxes over as long as five years, with a 10% down payment. The result is a reasonable monthly payment amount.

The reduced interest plan is available only to those who own their primary residence, and they must provide a deed and a certificate of owner occupancy from the city, Sabree said.

The program comes amid a wave of tax foreclosures in Detroit, with over 20,000 properties still at risk of foreclosure for unpaid 2013 property taxes. Wayne County officials say many of the properties are vacant houses or empty lots, but almost half are occupied residential properties, either owned by the individuals or families that occupy them, or by tenants.

Sabree’s office says that over 10,000 taxpayers in the owner-occupied homes in this year’s foreclosure process have set up payment plans or other agreements that keep them in their homes.

“This year over 63,000 properties started the tax foreclosure process, and the number still at risk is already lower than the number of properties foreclosed upon last year.”

“There are new programs that will allow you to avoid foreclosure if you own and live in your home as your primary residence.  Should you make the required payments your interest rate, which is currently 18%, will be reduced to 6% and you will avoid foreclosure,” Sabree said.  He also noted that your home does not need to be at risk of foreclosure to take advantage of this program.  If you only owe 2014 and/or 2015 taxes, you can also enter into the lower interest rate payment plans to save money.

“These plans are called Interest Reduction Stipulated Payment Agreements (IRSPA).  To qualify for such a plan you must have a Principal Residence Exemption (PRE) on your property.  Apply for a PRE at your local community offices.  If you qualify for an IRSPA you will pay a 10% down payment on the delinquent taxes and then pay 3% per month.  In order to make sure the plan continues you must not allow any more taxes go delinquent so pay your new taxes on time,” Sabree said.

To contact the Wayne County Treasurer’s office send an email to taxinfo@waynecounty.com, visit us at 400 Monroe in Greektown, or call 313-224-5990. If you were extended a D.O.O.E. or S.P.A. last year you must complete payments on that and then enter a new agreement or the property will be foreclosed.

The Interest Reduction Stipulated Payment Agreement (IRSPA) and the State Equalized Value Stipulated Payment Agreement (SEVSPA) will be expiring on June 30, 2016.

People interested in taking advantage of these unique programs should visit the Wayne County Treasurer’s website and gather the following required information before going to the Treasurer’s office:

-You must have a Principal Residence Exemption (PRE) for your property. This states that you own and live in your home as your primary residence. This designation will lower your taxes. If you do not have a PRE you can apply for that at your local community.

You must pay 10% of the base delinquent taxes as a down payment.

You must pay a monthly amount to pay off the taxes. This is set at only 3% of the outstanding taxes, and can be spread over several years.

-You must not allow any more taxes to be reported as delinquent. This means you must pay your current year’s taxes timely to your local community.

-Under this plan the interest charged on the delinquent taxes is reduced from 18% per year to 6% per year.

If the taxes owed on your home together with interest and fees exceeds 1/2 the state equalized value (SEV) for your home, the outstanding taxes on the home can be reduced to 1/2 the SEV on the home, and the remaining amount is eliminated.  This plan also requires a 10% down payment, and 3% monthly payment for up to five years, and your interest on the taxes is reduced from 18% to 6%.

 

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