School closings & delays

Michigan Supreme Court hears arguments in home foreclosure law challenge

DETROIT (AP) — A lawyer is warning that local governments in Michigan could face a financial calamity if forced to repay surplus cash from the sale of tax-foreclosed properties.

The Michigan Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday over a state law that allows treasurers to keep money left over after overdue property taxes are paid from a sale. Christina Martin, an attorney for two people in Oakland County, called it "stealing."
Uri Rafaeli owed $8.41 on a rental property in Southfield. The bill grew to $285 with penalties and interest. Oakland County sold the house for $24,500 but refused to give him a dime, although the sale easily exceeded the overdue taxes.

John Bursch argued at the Supreme Court on behalf of the county. If the law seems unfair, he says the public can urge lawmakers to change it.

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  • Kevin Rahe

    The government should get some consideration for handling the sale of the house and its administrative costs to deal with the delinquency, but such sales should not be a windfall for them.

    • Michael

      Except that by the time they sell the house it no longer belongs to the previous homeowner. It has been foreclosed on and now belongs to the government. Why should the previous owners get any money from the property they neglected to pay for? They had the option to sell it before it defaulted to the government and failed to do so.

      Often the houses are in deplorable conditions requiring complete demolition. The “windfall” houses help cover the cost of the others. Take away the profits and who do you think pays for the difference? Those of us who pay our taxes.

  • DaMailman

    The current law is immoral. If the numbers were reversed you know darn well that the county would come after the difference.

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