Help for Detroit homeowners struggling with property taxes

March 10th, 2020
Detroit homeowner Arthur Barnes is assisted by Crystal King (left) and Kathy Ralston at Southwest Solutions' Property Tax Exemption (PTE) workshop.

By securing the Property Tax Exemption (PTE) this year, Linda Hoskins could save over $4,000 in back taxes. Arthur Barnes could save over $2,000 in back taxes. So could Alan Chunn. Linda, Arthur and Alan all came to our PTE workshop to get help in submitting the PTE application for Detroit homeowners. They are among the ten who attended the workshop. Many were hoping to take advantage of the new “Pay As You Stay” (PAYS) law.

The PAYS law provides affordable payment plans and eliminates penalties, interest and fees for eligible homeowners who are delinquent on their property taxes. To be eligible for PAYS, the homeowner must qualify for a Property Tax Exemption (PTE) for the current year. The PTE helps low-income households or those experiencing financial hardships. Under the PAYS program, homeowners would pay only their back taxes or 10 percent of the home’s taxable value, whichever is less.

As many as 31,000 Detroit homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure could be helped by PAYS.

Arthur Barnes is retired, is on a limited income, and has lived in his home in southwest Detroit for 35 years. He owes about $2,700 in back taxes, including interest, fees and penalties. The taxable value of his home is $6,000. Once Arthur receives his PTE and becomes eligible for PAYS, his delinquent tax bill could be reduced to only $600. Arthur hopes to use the savings toward replacing his roof, which is leaking badly.

We strongly encourage all Detroit homeowners struggling to pay their property taxes to file for the PTE and to inquire about the PAYS program if they have delinquent taxes. Our PTE workshop meets on the first Friday of every month at the Ford Resource and Engagement Center (FREC) in southwest Detroit.

Our monthly PTE workshops are part of a citywide effort sponsored by the Quicken Loans Community Investment Fund.

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