Key dates for confronting tax foreclosure in Wayne County

December – foreclosure notices went out

Homeowners who are three years behind on taxes (i.e. haven’t fully paid 2012 taxes) should be notified that they’re in danger of foreclosure and losing their homes. If you aren’t sure you’re threatened with foreclosure, check the foreclosure notices published in the Detroit Legal News.
By December, all property owners should also have gotten their current property tax bills. Make sure you have applied for all low-income or other tax relief you may be eligible for.

Jan. 26-30 & Feb. 2-6: ‘Show-cause’ hearings

These are huge events in Cobo Hall for homeowners facing foreclosure:
If you live in the home you own, are behind on your taxes for the past three (3) years, and can’t pay your taxes by March 31,  go to these hearings on your assigned day . (You should have gotten a mailing telling you your date.) Be prepared to explain the hardship that kept you from paying taxes so you can apply for a financial hardship extension that can take you out of the Foreclosure process for the rest of the year.  * 

If you can’t pay your taxes/interest/fees in full, you may be pressed to commit to a payment plan. Be very careful not to sign a payment plan you can’t afford to follow.

Make sure you come early to your Cobo Hall appointment and visit the table run by United Community Housing Coalition before going to your hearing appointment, as they are experts at helping people find solutions and get out from under the past-tax burden.

A new law passed in late 2014 could give homeowners a new way to escape the foreclosure spiral. A person’s tax debt could be cut to 1/4 the home’s market value if the taxes, interest, penalties, and fees that the homeowner owes total more than ¼ of the market value, and the homeowner follows either a qualified “installment payment plan” or a tax foreclosure avoidance agreement. It’s still not clear whether this “market value” can be the real value of what the home would sell for or whether it must be the inflated value that assessors come up with (using a formula that does not take into account nearby sales of “distressed” foreclosed property). We will be pressing to get real relief to families.

Jan. & Feb.: Court foreclosure hearings

Judicial Foreclosure hearings are held at Circuit Court, City-County Building to foreclose on homes that are 3 years behind on tax payments.

Feb. 1-15: Detroit tax assessments can be revised

Most Detroit homes are over-assessed – Get your appeal to Assessor’s office during this two-week window!Although Detroiters have been over-taxed for years, so far these revisions only apply to future tax bllls, not taxes you already owe. But massive amounts of appeals can help us make the case that previous tax bills were grossly unfair as well.

March 9: Deadline for appealing Assessors’ decision

If you aren’t satisfied with the February Assessors Review decision, write the Board of Review, 824 Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, Detroit, Ml 48226 before the second Monday of March. Address & contact information. Download appeal form. You should get an appointment to appear before the Board of Review.

March 1: Wayne County takes tax control of property that’s 2 years behind on taxes

At this time, stiff fees are added to tax bills that are 1 and 2 years behind. You can still redeem your property by paying taxes plus fees. If you’re at least 2 years behind, you must now pay your past-due bills to the County, NOT the city.

March 3- April 6: Hardship tax extensions granted

(There’s another chance to apply by July 21.) The treasurer might still decide to accept extension and payment plans after this date.

March 30: deadline for foreclosure judgment – Date extended to May 12!

By this date, the court will have decided to foreclose on properties that are 3 years behind on their taxes.

March 31: Last chance to redeem foreclosed homes! Date extended to May 12

If you are behind on 3 years of taxes and didn’t get a hardship extension, work out a payment plan or pay all you owe, the county will take your home. If you can pay back taxes and fees, make sure to pay Wayne County, not the city!

April 1 -Now extended to May 13!: Owners lose all rights to foreclosed properties.

The city can decide to take the property or to put it up for auction in the fall.

June 1: Deadline for filing for a “Principal Residence Exemption.

If you’re not foreclosed on this year, make sure you have a Principle Residence tax exemption (PRE) on  the home you own and live in. You might also get a tax exemption on the basis of poverty that’s retroactive to cover the past two years. This will give you a break on future taxes, so long as the home is your main residence. (There’s another chance to file for this exemption in November.)

September 15: deadline to get Senior tax deferment

If you’re a senior citizen you can delay paying your winter and summer taxes until the next February 15 without penalty and interest. Applications are available in Room 136 of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center.

September: First auction of homes foreclosed on in April.

Auction prices start at the amount owed in back taxes. Many homes aren’t sold in September, because buyers wait for a better deal the following month.

October: Final auctions of foreclosed homes

Homes are auctioned off to the highest bidder, with prices starting at $500. However, you have to put down a deposit of $2000.Worse yet, a new law says a person who lost the title to foreclosure can no longer get back his or her home at either auction.

December: County disposes of unsold homes & properties

Wayne County sends list of unsold properties to the City and they end up in the hands of the City, County or Land Bank.

December 31: Taxes delayed for Hardship now due

If you applied for a Substantial Financial Hardship Extension, your taxes must be paid by Dec. 31 of the year you applied.

July 1, 2016: New state law allowing tax debt to be cut expires


The United Community Housing Coalition can help you fill out tax break and extension applications. Visit their office at 220 Bagley, Suite 900, Detroit on Mon., Wed. or Fri. morning.


* Even after the Feb.-March Show Cause hearing, you can get the form to apply for a Financial Hardship Extension by calling the County Treasurer’s office (313) 224-6105, by sending a request by mail, or by going to the office in the International Center Building, 400 Monroe, 5th Floor, Detroit. You may also download the application from the web at:

Note: Some of these details could change. As we get new information, this timeline will be updated.

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