Detroit homeowner taxed over vacant lot as if house still stood

DETROIT – A Metro Detroit homeowner went toe-to-toe with the county over how much she is being asked to pay.

An eyesore of a home was demolished in 2019 and shortly after, Monica purchased the plot of land from the Detroit Land Bank for $200. It seemed inexpensive, but she had no idea what was coming.

She started getting tax bills on the property that were asking for big bucks as the lot was being taxed as if the house was still standing.

Monica battled to get the property reassessed and after multiple phone calls and headaches, nothing worked. She refused to pay and was given a foreclosure notice.

The City of Detroit Office of the Assessor, Wayne County and other officials needed to get on the same page. According to the Assessor’s Office, once the error was on their radar, they readjusted the property assessment and spoke with the Wayne County Treasurer’s Office to explain the problem and get the home off the foreclosure list.

“The Detroit Land Bank has successfully sold thousands of vacant side lot properties to residents over the years and Ms. Martin’s case is rare,” said Stephanie Davis, a representative for the City of Detroit. “We plan to look further into this issue to determine why the Assessor’s Office was not immediately notified of the demolition of this home.”

More: Help Me Hank

About the Author

Hank Winchester is Local 4’s Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV’s “Help Me Hank” Consumer Unit. Hank works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off people in our community.

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