Pay as You Stay legislation to help Detroit homeowners passes Senate

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Posted at 4:55 PM, Feb 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-13 17:07:56-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Legislation introduced in 2019 by State Rep. Wendell Byrd (D-Detroit) to help Detroiters avoid tax foreclosure passed in the Senate Thursday.

"Next week we will push for concurrence in the House of Representatives," Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement. "As we wait for the House to act, we urge all those in need of financial help with back taxes to apply for the Homeowner’s Property Tax Assistance Program (HPTAP). HPTAP is a requirement to be eligible for PAYS to reduce past payments and can also dramatically cut your tax bill going forward."

PAYS legislation would help up to 31,000 eligible Detroiters stay in their homes without fear of foreclosure. The bill would also reduce the amount Detroit homeowners owe on their back taxes while lowering their monthly payments.

Duggan says that with the PAYS program, foreclosures will continue to dwindle in the city. Previous efforts have already reduced tax foreclosures by more than 90 percent, he said.

“The Pay As You Stay legislation waives interest, penalties and fees to better position low-income residents to stay in their homes," said Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans after the bill passed the Senate. "It will provide local leaders with the tools to help residents avoid foreclosure and break the cycle of poverty. I applaud the Legislature’s bipartisan effort to move this critical legislation forward. When signed into law, this reform will provide substantial relief to residents struggling to stay current with property tax payment plans and, ultimately, reduce foreclosures in Wayne County.”

According to the City of Detroit website, the Pay as You Stay program is a three-part plan.

1. Once you enroll, all interest, penalties and fees would be eliminated.
2. To reduce an undue burden on homeowners, the balance due would be limited to back taxes only or 10% of a home’s taxable value – whichever is less.
3. The remaining balance would be paid back over three years at zero percent interest.

To qualify for the program, homeowners must first qualify for either a full of partial Property Tax Exemption.

For more information on the Pay as You Stay program, visit the City of Detroit website here.