On Monday, March 2, Mayor Mike Duggan, Rep. Wendell Byrd (D-Detroit), Wayne County Executive Warren Evans joined Governor Gretchen Whitmer as she signed the Pay as You Stay (PAYS) legislation into law. The PAYS legislation is the result of the leadership of Rep. Wendell Byrd (D-Detroit), who introduced the legislation, along with the collective backing of leaders across Wayne County government, Detroit City Council and other state leaders who supported a program that would help provide financial relief to residents struggling with current and delinquent taxes.
This legislation couldn’t come at a better time as the City of Detroit is embroiled in controversy over Detroit homeowners being overtaxed to the tune of $600 million. According to reports, thousands of Detroiters are in debt and at risk of losing their homes after the City of Detroit failed to accurately assess property values in the years following the Great Recession.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan spoke of this in his State of the City Address saying that homeowners overtaxed from 2010 to 2016 shouldn’t expect to see any type of refund. In response, Citizens protested the overtaxing of Detroit residents and forced the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center to temporarily shut down on Friday afternoon.
“I’m glad that there is some relief on the way but what happens to the money that was overpaid,” asked Tiffany Kennedy of Detroit. Shouldn’t we get that money back? Name one other business that doesn’t make an adjustment when there is overpayment.”
While its not likely the citizens will not see a return of the money that was overpaid the “Pay as You Stay” (PAYS) plan that would assist low-income earners who fell delinquent in their property taxes by eliminating the penalties and interest and lowering their monthly payments, which would help about 31,000 Detroit homeowners, dodge foreclosure.
“Pay As You Stay will help homeowners across the state struggling with delinquent taxes stay in their homes,” said Governor Whitmer. “Everyone deserves a path to own a home, and this program will help more than 30,000 Detroiters and Wayne County residents avoid foreclosure. I applaud Representative Byrd, County Executive Warren Evans, Mayor Duggan and all of our partners for their leadership in getting this done for all Michiganders.”
Getting into PAYS is a two-step process:
- Low-income Detroiters who live in the home they own should apply today for a property tax exemption through the Homeowner Property Tax Assistance Program (HPTAP). A current exemption is a required to be eligible for PAYS.HPTAP applications can be found online at the city’s website at detroitmi.gov and clicking on the Help with Property Taxes link.
The Wayne County Treasurer will stop the foreclosure process for anyone with a current property tax exemption or who applies by March 28 and has their application approved. For example, a family of four earning about $32,000 per year or less, or an individual earning $22,000 or less are eligible for a 25%, 50% or 100% property tax exemption, depending on their exact income.
- Starting April 15th, the Wayne County Treasurer will begin contacting eligible homeowners to get them enrolled into Pay as You Stay. Once enrolled in PAYS, homeowners will see a major reduction in their monthly payment plans to pay off their tax delinquencies. Many eligible homeowners will see their monthly payments go down from about $150 to about $25.
“Gov. Whitmer signing Pay as You Stay into law is the culmination of years of efforts by a whole coalition of partners that already have reduced tax foreclosures in Detroit by 94% over the past five years,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “The most important thing homeowners can do today if they are subject to penalties and interest on delinquent taxes is to apply for a property tax exemption to become eligible for Pay as You Stay. If their application is approved, they’ll be eligible for a significant reduction in their monthly payments.”
The City is urging anyone in need of financial assistance on their current or delinquent property taxes to apply for HPTAP before March 28, 2020. Eligible residents who apply before March 28th can receive an exemption on their summer tax bill.Exemptions are granted at three levels; full (100%), partial (50%), or 25%. Property tax exemptions are based off of income level and family size.