“Pay As You Stay” Law signed by Gov. Whitmer could help 31,000 Detroiters stay in their homes

March 2nd, 2020
Governor Gretchen Whitmer speaks at the press conference in Detroit just before signing the Pay As You Stay (PAYS) legislation. Seated are (left to right): Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II; State Rep. Wendell Byrd; Detroit homeowner Shanita Jones; Mayor Mike Duggan; and Wayne County Executive Warren Evans.

The Pay As You Stay (PAYS) legislation signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer in Detroit today will help Michigan homeowners struggling to pay property taxes stay in their homes, including as many as 31,000 Detroit homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure.

The PAYS law provides affordable payment plans and eliminates penalties, interest and fees for eligible homeowners who have fallen behind 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. This arrangement will amount to significant savings for thousands of struggling homeowners.

Detroit homeowner Shanita Jones had been paying $400 a month in delinquent property taxes. With PAYS, she will be paying $50 a month for three years to resolve her tax debt. Shanita spoke at the press conference where Gov. Whitmer signed the bill. Shanita said the program will relieve the financial stress she was facing in making the payments, as well as the emotional stress of possibly losing her home to foreclosure. She also said she will now be able to use the savings to improve the opportunities and quality of life for her children. 

“Everyone deserves a path to own a home, and this program will help tens of thousands of Detroiters and Wayne County residents avoid foreclosure,” said Gov. Whitmer.

Also speaking at the press conference, which was held at Wayne Metro Community Action Agency, were Rep. Wendell Byrd (D – Detroit), who sponsored the PAYS legislation, which passed the Michigan House and Senate with bipartisan support; Wayne County Executive Warren Evans; Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II; and Mayor Mike Duggan.

“Governor Whitmer signing Pay as You Stay into law is the culmination of years of efforts by a whole coalition of partners that have been working every day to reduce tax foreclosures in Detroit by 94 percent over the past five years,” said Mayor Duggan. “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.”  

Southwest Solutions is one of the many community organizations that holds monthly PTE workshops to help Detroit homeowners fill out and submit the PTE application. The workshops are free. The next Southwest Solutions’ PTE workshop is Friday, March 6 from 10AM to 2PM at the Ford Resource and Engagement Center in southwest Detroit. For more details, click here.

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