Wayne County Foreclosure Auctions Allowed to Proceed By Presiding Judge

by San Antonio Attorney

The tax foreclosure auctions of Wayne County will continue as planned according to a judge’s ruling through the class-action lawsuit filed by the ACLU Michigan.  This issue was brought to light to resolve the foreclosure problems of Detroit.

Eric Sabree, the Treasurer of Wayne County, also named as the defendant in the class-action lawsuit, was pleased with the current ruling.

Sabree added that this ruling will allow the ruling of the judge to retain their operations and as authorized by the state law, to auction off homes for their unpaid property taxes.

Despite the ruling, ACLU Michigan still believes that they will prevail in halting tax foreclosures.  However, the judge has already denied the motion for reconsideration filed by the City of Detroit.

The lawsuit involved large homeowners associations such as the Morningside Community Organization, Russell Woods-Sullivan Area Association and Neighbors Building Brightmoor.  These homeowners sought moratorium for foreclosure on these occupied properties and emphasized on poverty exemptions being denied.

The lawsuit claims that a thousand of homeowners from Detroit were barred from a poverty exemption despite full qualification because they were not properly guided by the City of Detroit and Detroit Citizens Board of Review’s complex application procedures.

In 2014, almost 4,214 homeowners applied for poverty exemption.  Only 3,718 have received full exemptions, 127 received 50% exemptions and 409 were denied from filing, according to the City of Detroit.  The criterion for a full exemption includes a household income below $16,660 for a household of one.  A household income of two should not exceed an income past $19,950.

Michael Steinberg, the Legal Director of ACLU Michigan said that he was pleased with the court ruling that the case against the City of Detroit can go forward.  Steinberg added that a lot of Detroiters that fall below the poverty line have already lost their homes due to the difficulty in processing the poverty exemptions.

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