The Michigan tax code is finally aligned with a 2020 Michigan Supreme Court ruling that prohibited county treasurers from pocketing excess equity when foreclosing on tax-delinquent homes.
The ruling followed Oakland County seizing Uri Rafaeli’s property in 2014 over an initial tax debt of $8.41, which rose to $285.81 after interest, penalties, and fees.
A Detroiter filed a class-action lawsuit against Wayne County on Thursday, claiming officials foreclosed on her home, sold it at less than half the market value, and then pocketed the proceeds.
Philip L. Ellison, an attorney at Hemlock-based Outside Legal Counsel, and others filed the lawsuit Thursday in the U.S. Eastern District Court on behalf of Tonya Bowles, who lost her East State property to foreclosure in 2017.
The Michigan Supreme Court ruled unanimously Friday that counties can’t additionally profit from tax-foreclosed homes without justly compensating the property owner.
The court found that withholding any surplus from tax-foreclosure sales that exceeded the amount owed constituted an “unconstitutional taking without just compensation.”