Macomb County: No foreclosures for delinquent taxes in 2020

By: Kristyne E. Demske | C&G Newspapers | Published May 26, 2020

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MACOMB COUNTY — COVID-19 has changed a lot of things, and now there’s another topic to add to the list: home foreclosures due to delinquent taxes.

Macomb County Treasurer Larry Rocca announced that he would be withholding all occupied homes and businesses from foreclosure this year, as long as they are not a threat to the public health, safety and welfare, “due to the economic hardships we are all facing as we fight united against the COVID-19 threat.”

Although the occupied properties will not be subject to foreclosure in 2020, delinquent taxes must still be paid, and unpaid balances will continue to accrue interest. Rocca’s office is encouraging taxpayers to make regular payments if they can.

Joe Biondo, chief deputy to the Macomb County Treasurer, said that the office has been working hard with homeowners to reduce the number of properties facing foreclosure for back taxes. According to a 2020 report from the Treasurer’s Office, it negotiated 783 repayment plans in 2019 and only foreclosed upon 108 properties, three of which were owner occupied.

“It’s been going down every year,” Biondo said, noting that the office foreclosed upon about 300 properties in 2016. “We have been focusing on increasing the number of payment plans.”

Properties that would have been considered for foreclosure have been behind on taxes for three years, Biondo explained. The amount owed includes an 18% interest rate, which is set by the state for delinquent taxes.

Local municipalities will not be impacted by the decision, he explained, as they have been paid “up front by the county” for the taxes that were owed.

“When these taxes become delinquent, the county essentially buys these delinquencies from the locals,” Biondo explained.

Rocca first filed an extension to the redemption period when the COVID-19 crisis began, but with businesses remaining closed and taxpayers still subject to a stay-at-home order, he determined in mid-May that the best course of action would be to halt foreclosures for the year.

Anyone having difficulty making regular payments should contact the Macomb County Treasurer’s Office at (586) 469-5190 for more information, Rocca said.

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