LANSING, Mich. -- One state lawmaker is trying to change Michigan's foreclosure law after hearing about a local woman's battle to keep her home.
Sen. Rick Jones said FOX 17's coverage of Deborah Calley brought his attention to an issue that impacts homeowners statewide.
Calley's home was foreclosed after she missed a single property tax payment in 2011. Under state law, after three years of being delinquent, the county can take the home.
While there's no question the county should get what's owed to them, homeowners in several counties began expressing their concerns to FOX 17 about the fact that the county can sell it and rake in huge profits . While it's legal, Sen. Jones said it shouldn't be.
"I absolutely believe that a county should be able to take a home if you don't pay your taxes for three years," Sen. Jones said. "Those taxes are so important to pay for roads, police, fire and schools. However, when they're making a profit, I think that's wrong."
In January, Jones said he will introduce a bill that if passed, would only allow for the government to take the money it's owed and give the rest back to the homeowner after selling the property.
Under the current law, Calley, who paid about $165,000 cash for her home, will not see one cent of it once it's sold by the county.
"The tax bill was $1,200. With the penalties it's just hovering under $2,000," Calley said. "At the auction, they sold it for $81,000. So, what's that--a $79,000 profit."
It's a consequence that most homeowners, including Calley, think is extreme.
"It's a house. It's money. Money comes, money goes," she said. "The big picture is the law. This should never, ever happen to anybody."
Sen. Jones agrees.
"The county should get that $2,000. They should get all the penalties. They should get all the fees. They should get the cost of the auction--that's reasonable," Sen. Jones said. "Should it profit? I don't think so."
In September, Kalamazoo County treasurer Mary Balkema told FOX 17 the Property Tax Act doesn't bring in the massive surplus for the county like people think.
"It's a pool of money that we use to increase the tax base," Balkema said. "There's some good properties that subsidize the bad properities."
Basically, Balkema means the profits from one property can make up the difference for the properties that don't sell.
However, Sen. Jones said homeowners like Calley shouldn't lose it all to keep the county in the black.
"It's obvious to me that some treasurers think that they need to make a profit from some poor person to compensate for the ones where they make nothing and I don't agree," Sen. Jones said. "I don't believe that one situation has anything to do with another."
Jones said the bill will bring in some opposition. With 83 counties in Michigan, he said he expects that all 83 treasurers will be lobbying against it.
"They never want something to stop that is bringing in money," Sen. Jones said. "The bottom line is it`s your home. We had a revolution about the government coming in from England and taking our homes. We don`t believe in that in this country."