Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation on Monday that would help struggling Michigan homeowners pay their property taxes.
The “Pay As You Stay” bill, sponsored by Rep. Wendell Byrd (D-3-Detroit), eliminates penalties, interest, and fees to allow foreclosing governmental units to significantly reduce delinquent taxes.
“Everyone deserves a path to own a home, and this program will help tens of thousands of Detroiters and Wayne County residents avoid foreclosure,” Whitmer said in a statement on Monday. “I applaud Representative Byrd, County Executive Warren Evans, Mayor Duggan and all of our partners for their leadership in getting this done for all Michiganders.”
The bill, named House Bill 5124, is a three-part plan that first eliminates all interest, penalties, and fees upon enrollment. Then, the balance due would be limited to just back taxes, or 10 percent of the home’s taxable value — whichever is less. The rest would be then be paid back over a period of three years at zero percent interest.
The “Pay As You Stay” bill would apply to homeowners who qualify for a full or partial Property Tax Exemption, which is available to a household of one person making less than $19,303 per year or a household with four people making less than $28,671.
The newly-signed law was supported by several Michigan political leaders.
“This legislation will help residents move off payment plans and avoid foreclosure,” said Wayne County Executive Warren Evans in a statement. “Wayne County is much better off with people in their homes and I hope we can expand on this effort. We will continue to pursue ways to help low-income residents overcome poverty.”
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said that passing the law was the “culmination of years of efforts
“I believe Pay As You Stay is going to help a lot more people at risk of foreclosure to significantly reduce their monthly payments and stay in their homes,” Duggan said in a statement. “The most important thing anyone in Detroit in this situation can do is to get enrolled in the Homeowner Property Tax Assistance Program so they can qualify for Pay as You Stay.”
Jordyn Pair is a reporter with Battleground State News and The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]