Keep Your Keys: How to Seize Back Our Rights

October 2, 2019 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Firebird Tavern

419 Monroe, Detroit, MI

Have you ever miscalculated a bill? Typically, a late fee or a strongly worded warning follows. But do you know what happens if you miscalculate and underpay your property taxes—even just a few dollars? In at least 12 states – including Michigan – the government can (and does) seize your property, sell it, and leave you with nothing. Property taxes must be paid, and it’s legal for governments to seize your home to pay for outstanding debt. But the government shouldn’t keep any more money beyond what’s owed. The rest is your property: home equity that you’ve worked hard to build.

Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Christina Martin has brought two cases challenging this unfair practice in Michigan: Rafaeli v. Oakland County and Perez v. Wayne County. Uri Rafaeli owned a rental property in Oakland County, Michigan. He mistakenly underpaid his property taxes by $8.41. To cover the debt, the county sold the property at auction for $24,500 and kept every penny of the proceeds. The Perez family unknowingly underpaid their 2014 property taxes by $144. To settle that minor debt, Wayne County took the home and sold it for $108,000, keeping every penny from the sale. The Perez family lost all their equity in the property, while the county pocketed $107,498.55. On October 3, 2019 Christina Martin will argue Rafaeli v. Oakland County at the Michigan Supreme Court.

Join us at 6:00pm to meet and network with other young professionals from across Michigan. The remarks will begin at 6:30pm, with more networking to follow. As always, we’ll have free food and your first drink is on us.