From 2011 to 2015, the Wayne County treasurer foreclosed upon about 1 in 4 Detroit properties for nonpayment of property taxes. The Great Depression was the last time in American history that we experienced this record numbers of property tax foreclosures.
According to the Michigan Constitution, no property should be assessed at more than 50% of its market value. But, between 2009-2015, the City of Detroit assessed 55% to 85% of its properties in violation of its state constitution. Since property taxes were based on these ridiculous and illegally inflated numbers, it is no surprise that residents weren't able to pay. As a result, over 100,000 working families have lost their homes, and many Detroit neighborhoods have been devastated. African-Americans have been hit hardest of all.
Community Legal Workers are trained community members who will help Detroit residents understand, use, and shape the laws around property tax assessments in Detroit. Instead of turning to traditional lawyers, Detroit Justice Center places the law in the hands of the people to empower them to solve justice problems on their own. DJC has trained five Community Legal Workers who are now prepared to advise clients on the legal process and navigate government systems.
The Michigan Constitution states that no property may be assessed at more than 50% of its market value. However, 55 – 85% of properties were assessed at a rate in violation of the Constitution from 2009-2015. Detroit residents can appeal a property assessment to the Board of Assessors Review, but the period for appeal is only February 1 – February 15, a very short time frame.
DJC’s Community Legal Workers will assist community members in preparing their appeals, accompany clients to the Board, and provide guidance throughout the process.
Learn more at Detroit Justice Center