Senate Passes Hunter Bill to Combat Blight, Auction Abuse

Senate Passes Hunter Bill to Combat Blight, Auction Abuse

Bill implements much-needed reform to prevent intentional foreclosures, auction repurchases

LANSING – December 12, 2014 – (RealEstateRama) — The Michigan Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 295 today, legislation sponsored by Senate Minority Floor Leader Tupac A. Hunter (D-Detroit) that is designed to improve neighborhoods and reduce blight by banning certain landowners with delinquent blight fines from bidding in county tax foreclosure auctions.

“Our tax foreclosure auctions are currently being abused by tax-dodgers, slumlords and schemers that are letting their properties fall into foreclosure rather than paying their property taxes, and this bill will go a long way toward cleaning up our neighborhoods and creating safe communities,” said Senator Hunter. “I sincerely appreciate the support of the Legislature to address this important issue facing Detroit and other communities, but I also want to recognize Wayne County Treasurer Raymond Wojtowicz and Deputy Treasurer David Szymanski for all of their hard work in concert with Mayor Mike Duggan to address land speculation and blight in Detroit.”

Senate Bill 295 would require prospective bidders in tax foreclosure auctions to register with the foreclosing governmental unit at least 14 days before a sale. It would prohibit any person or entity that has had a property go into tax foreclosure in the last three years or has unpaid local blight or nuisance ordinance violations from bidding on properties in tax foreclosure auctions. Senator Hunter has been working in the Legislature to reform county tax foreclosure auctions for the last several years, and appreciates the ongoing efforts by Mayor Duggan and Wayne County officials to do what they can to improve the process at the local level.

In Wayne County’s 2014 tax foreclosure auction, 10,704 properties were sold for about $61 million countywide. About 14,800 properties went unsold. Loveland Technology, a company that surveyed Detroit for this year’s auction, found that there’s roughly an 85% correlation between tax-foreclosed and blighted properties. The company also speculated that 35,669 occupied residential homes in the city are set to enter tax foreclosure next year.

Senator Hunter has been a leader in the fight to combat blight through other avenues as well. He sponsored a bill that was passed and signed into law as part of a legislative package to address blight. His bill, Senate Bill 39, allowed for a lien against property involved in a blight violation to be enforced and discharged by a city in the same manner as liens for delinquent taxes.

Sen. Hunter represents the 5th District, which is comprised of Northwest Detroit, Dearborn Heights and Inkster. He serves as the Minority Floor Leader. He is a member of the Senate Government Operations Committee, Legislative Council, and the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules.

Contact: Senator Tupac A. Hunter
517-373-0994

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