Metro Detroit homeowners cry foul about foreclosures over property taxes

Posted at 10:28 PM, Dec 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-04 22:28:33-05

More than 100 homeowners at risk of losing their homes in Southfield are crying foul and their attorneys are claiming some city officials are making money from the sale of the foreclosed homes.

Now, those homeowners are demanding more transparency during a city council meeting on Tuesday night.

The alarming thing about the foreclosures is all 101 of them are residents who had paid their homes off. The equity was there to make a deal and pay back taxes, instead, their attorneys say the city took possession then sold them for a profit.

The mayor of Southfield told 7 Action News it all comes down to paying taxes. Oakland County can foreclose on a home if residents don’t pay property taxes for three years in a row. 

One homeowner said he has the money to pay back his taxes but the city won't allow him to redeem his property.

Attorney Scott Smith represents dozens of residents and says the state only allows the city to buy foreclosed homes because of delinquent taxes for something called public purpose.

He said the city is selling the properties to a for-profit entity called NRI and said some city administrators run NRI.

Some residents are at risk of losing their home and are being denied the ability to pay back their taxes.

The city says the reason for the the creation of NRI is to stabilize values, but residents who own their home free and clear are being stripped of the equity they've earned.