For Immediate Release, January 18, 2013

Michigan Realtor Champions for Governmental Change and Everyone Wins 

Governor Snyder signed the Senate Bill 972 on December 28, 2012 which took nearly ten months of dedication and was a direct result of Realtor Mark Baker’s request to Michigan State Senator Dave Hildenbrand’s office. This bill addresses a particular lack of customer service that Mr. Baker encountered with regard to notification of an unpaid tax bill which nearly caused him to lose a debt free and valuable piece of commercial real estate at a tax sale.

Before the bill passed, local cities, townships and villages would turn over all unpaid tax bills to the County for collection but would continue to send future bills without mention of any past due bills.   The County in turn was only required to send their notices to the taxpayer’s last known address. While these entities should have been in communication about the whereabouts of taxpayers, unfortunately, in many cases they were not, resulting in situations like what Mr. Baker experienced. This was very poor customer service especially when these entities have the greatest power in the land to levy late fees, interest fees and ultimately sell off a person’s property.

The creation of this bill addresses a challenge that Mr. Baker’s company encountered on a missed tax bill. He and his company were not aware of this late notice for nearly 3 years because it was simply being mailed to his former business address. This nearly resulted in the loss of his valuable property through a County Tax Sale even though he had notified the township of his new address.  Below are the steps that were taken on his part.

  1. He had informed the township of his new address but the Township and County did not communicate about changes of address.
  2. He had received and paid every tax bill since that time.
  3. He had real estate signs on the property with his own real estate company name and his phone number all the while his property was listed for sale.
  4. His company that owned the property filed its annual report on-time every year with the complete mailing address and optional phone number included on the paperwork.
  5. If anyone needed to locate Mr. Baker, they could have easily found him and his full contact information on the internet, within seconds of entering his name and/or company name.

This new bill requires that all real estate tax invoices indicate, in clear language, that a delinquent tax bill exists. If this change had been in effect, it would have alerted Mr. Baker about the unpaid bill.

This change will result in better communications between the County and Local Governments, better collection rates, and better information for lenders, property owners, their partners, accountants and anyone else that has an interest in seeing that bills are paid in a timely manner.

Mr. Baker states “I would like to thank State Senator Hildenbrand for holding his program called ‘Talk to the Senator Day’ because this is where I was able to present my situation, concerns and suggestions in an easy format.  Senator Hildenbrand and his staff did a great job of sponsoring the bill, including my office in the Senate hearings; they sought input from municipalities and the State Attorney General’s office and then finally arrived at a simple change which will bring a benefit to the taxpayers and the taxing authorities for years to come.”

 

d-hildenbrand

State Senator Hildenbrand

Office of Dave Hildenbrand

State Senator – District 29

(866) 305-2129

 

m-baker

Mark Baker, CCIM

Michigan Properties Realty

Broker / Owner

800-599-2320

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