Frequently Asked Questions
Q. If I don't pay my taxes, will I really lose my house and property?
A. YES. Across the State, thousands of property owners have lost their property to foreclosure, including over 100 in Lapeer County.
Q. What happens once the tax is forwarded to the County Treasurer?
A. On March 1st, a 4% administration fee and interest of 1% per month is added. After one year, the property is forfeited to the County Treasurer. For example, any 2008 taxes that were still unpaid as of March 1st, 2010 are in forfeiture.
Q. What does it mean for my property to be in forfeiture? Does that mean I lose my property?
A. NO. Forfeiture is not foreclosure. If your property is in forfeiture, you still have one year before it will be foreclosed; however the interest and fees will be higher. When the property is forfeited, the interest rates increases from 1% to 1.5% per month, retroactive to the date the taxes became delinquent. A $175 fee is also added. (please see timeline for a list of fees added).
Q. What happens after my property is in forfeiture?
A. After a property has been in forfeiture for one year and the taxes remain unpaid, it will be foreclosed. Unpaid 2008 property taxes will be foreclosed in March 2011.
Q. What happens after my property is foreclosed? How do I get it back?
A. YOU CANNOT GET YOUR PROPERTY BACK AFTER IT HAS BEEN FORECLOSED! FORECLOSURE IS FINAL. Property that has been foreclosed will be sold at public auction to the highest bidder.
Q. What if I don't have the money to pay all the taxes at once?
A. You can make partial payments of any amount at any time. To ensure your payment is correctly applied, please write your parcel number on the check or money order. If you can't pay all of your taxes before foreclosure, contact the Department of Human Services at 810-667-0800 for possible financial assistance.
Q. Will I receive any notification before my property is foreclosed?
A. YES. Five notifications are required by law -- two by 1st Class mail, two by certified mail and the last by personal service. In Lapeer County, we will send an additional 3-5 notices. Plus, names and addresses of delinquent property owners will be published in the newspaper. All parties having any recorded interest in the property (lien holders, land contract holders, mortgage holders, etc.) will be notified.
Q. If I refuse to accept the mailed notices, avoid the personal service or transfer ownership of the property, will I avoid foreclosure?
A. NO. The County Treasurer is only required to make a reasonable effort to notify the person or persons with a legal interest who appear on county records at the time of forfeiture. If you have an unrecorded interest in a property, you can still lose that interest. Newspaper publication will meet the legal requirement for notification.
Q. I am a land contract holder. How can I find out whether or not the taxes are paid?
A. Property tax records are public information. You are welcome to check on the tax status of any property. Also, the law allows you to receive a copy of all notices sent by the County Treasurer concerning a parcel for a year. The fee for this service is $5 per year.
Q. I guess I really don't have to worry about losing my property for two years. Why not wait and pay my taxes then?
A. DON'T WAIT. The longer you delay the more expensive it will be. In addition to the fees previously mentioned, personal service fees and any required maintenance or clean up costs will be charged to the property. Also, please note that there is no statutory relief if you fail to pay because of an unanticipated absence, delayed or misdirected mail delivery, poor weather, illness or forgetfulness. FORECLOSURE IS FINAL!
Q. How can I purchase property that has been foreclosed?
A. Lapeer County will be offering properties at public auction to the highest bidder. The auction dates for 2007 have not yet been set. At the first auction, a minimum bid consisting of all delinquent taxes, interest and fees is required. If all parcels are not sold at the first auction, there will be no minimum bid required at the final auction. A complete list of the properties, estimated minimum bids, and the auction rules and regulations can be obtained from the Lapeer County Treasurer or downloaded from this site after April 10th.