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MICHELE OBERHOLTZER

Housing Policy Plan

I spend every single day fighting to prevent tax foreclosure and ensure that everyone in Detroit and Hamtramck has a safe place to sleep at night. I have not stopped even while running for office, and I will certainly not stop as State Representative.

“Yet another 36,000 Detroit properties are facing tax foreclosure this year. Tax foreclosure is an autoimmune disorder through which our own local government has become the agent of its own destruction. The city, county and state all have a role in…tax foreclosure, but they also have the ability to end it. Government can stop government foreclosure.”

-Michele Oberholtzer.Government can stop tax foreclosure.” Detroit Free Press. February 11, 2018.

 

We Need to Prevent Tax Foreclosure & Ensure Fair Tax Assessments

  • Mandate fair tax assessments of all properties.
  • Require the affirmation of fair property tax assessments before foreclosure can take place.
  • Make the poverty tax exemption available retroactively to homeowners below the poverty line.
    • Seniors need to receive the property tax exemption as well, automatically renewing each year (“once a senior, always a senior”).
  • Use the federal funds already allocated for foreclosure prevention to actually prevent foreclosure in Michigan.
  • Reform Michigan State Housing Development Authority’s (MSHDA) “Step Forward” program helping homeowners facing tax foreclosure to be judgement-free and non-discriminatory.
  • Create more effective, common-sense payment plans for at-risk homeowners.
    • Reduce interest rates for owner-occupied properties
  • Re-allocate demolition funds toward assisting homeowners facing tax foreclosure.
  • Expand Right of Refusal (ROR), a program which allows local government to buy properties from the Wayne County Treasurer before they are auctioned.
  • Revoke law regarding the “affidavit” in the tax auction that ostensibly prevents owners from buying back.
  • Provide residents of foreclosed homes the first option to buy any government-owned residential property.
  • Barring criminal activity (which does not include “squatting”), a resident should not be excluded from this priority. If that fails and an outside buyer wishes to purchase, half of their “investor offer price” must be presented as the “resident offer price” to the resident. Third party groups may facilitate sales for “resident offer prices” if they commit to certain minimum profit margins off the sale.
  • Clarify that residents of tax-foreclosed homes do NOT owe rent and they are entitled to 2x any rent collected by the former landlord after the home was foreclosed upon.

We Need to Prioritize Affordable Housing

  • Build more affordable housing. Either issue a fee for certain real estate transactions or issue bonds for the construction of affordable housing.
  • We need to establish a statewide commitment to a certain number of affordable units overall as well as within Section 8 housing.
  • Adjust boundaries of Area Median Income (AMI) standards to reflect local variations.
  • Change Section 8 inspections to every 2 years instead of every year. Further synchronize Section 8 inspections with local rental ordinance to increase affordable housing
  • Have MSHDA grant more points for Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) applications when:
    • a. there is a higher number of affordable units, or
    • b. there is a lower AMI threshold.
  • MSHDA must require that a portion of LIHTC units are Section 8.

We Need to Reform Landlord-Tenant Rights

  • Establish right to an attorney for tenants in civil suits, including eviction cases.
  • Require landlords to show they have standing before they can bring an eviction case. Verify ownership including tax foreclosure status.
  • Allow certificate of redemption for homeowners after mortgage foreclosure and prevent homeowners from being overcharged.
  • We must reform land contracts and lease purchases, and clearly define what constitutes a land contract.

General Housing Policy Reforms

  • Increase requirements for land bank due diligence and transparency for property sales and demolitions. Increase power of community to acquire/inform those decisions.
  • Create automatic notifications from Registrar of Deeds to Assessor’s office to adjust ownership/taxpayer information.
  • Mandate notice of public liens on properties (water/tax) at the time of a deed transfer (Registrar of Deeds).
  • Mandate notice of PTA/PRE requirements at the time of a deed transfer (Registrar of Deeds).
  • Adjust requirements for State Emergency Relief such that payments can be made to stop foreclosure.
  • Allow principal residence exemptions for residential homes in Community Land Trusts.
  • End “Nuisance Abatement” eminent domain activity.