If you don’t pay your real property taxes in Michigan, you’ll forfeit your home to the county treasurer. This means that the county or other government entity can then start the process to foreclose on the home and eventually sell it to a new owner. The good news is that you’ll get some time after the forfeiture to get caught up on the delinquent amounts (before the foreclosure is complete) so that you can save your home.
When you don’t pay your Michigan property taxes, you’ll forfeit your property to the county treasurer on March 1st the year after you become delinquent on the taxes, which is the second year of the delinquency. The foreclosing government entity will then begin a foreclosure action in court.
The court will enter a judgment of foreclosure, typically in late March of the following year (the third year of the delinquency). Once the home is foreclosed, it can be sold to a new owner. (To get details on the tax forfeiture and foreclosure process in Michigan, see What Happens If I Don't Pay Property Taxes in Michigan.)
After the forfeiture, you get some time to pay off the tax debt and “redeem” your home. This will stop the foreclosure.
Under Michigan law, you will get approximately one year after the forfeiture to redeem your home. Specifically, you can redeem your home:
If you don’t redeem by the deadline, your home will be foreclosed. You cannot get the property back after the foreclosure.
To redeem your property, you have to pay to the county treasurer:
If your situation meets certain criteria (for example, you meet the federal poverty income standards), you may be able to enter into a delinquent property tax installment payment plan to get current on the delinquent amounts (Mich. Comp. Laws § 211.78q). This too will stop the foreclosure. (For information about how to apply for a property tax installment plan, check with your county treasurer’s office.)
Usually, it is a wise idea to take action to reduce your property tax liability prior to falling behind in your payments to try to make them more affordable. For example, you could:
Finding Michigan’s Tax Forfeiture and Foreclosure Laws
To find the statutes governing tax forfeitures and foreclosures in Michigan, as well as how to redeem your home after a forfeiture, go to Chapter 211, Act 206 of 1893, § 211.78, et seq. of the Michigan Compiled Laws.