Elderly Man Has $8.41 In Unpaid Property Tax, Loses Home Over It
An elderly resident of Southfield, Michigan, Uri Rafaeli, purchased his home in 2011, for $60,000, with the hope of funding his retirement. During the home buying process, Rafaeli inadvertently underpaid his property tax bill. He made the effort to ensure that the bill was taken care of, however, in the process, the bill was not paid in full and the remaining balance began to accrue interest with the Oakland County, Michigan Treasurer.
The remaining balance, in 2014, was $8.41, all of which was accrued interest. The Oakland County Treasurer mailed foreclosure notices to Rafaeli several times between the delinquency finding and 2014, and in 2014 Oakland County foreclosed on, and auctioned, Rafaeli’s home for $24,500. The County effectively earned $24,491 on Rafaeli’s lack of payment.
Christina Martin, the attorney for Rafaeli and an attorney with the nonprofit Pacific Legal Foundation, stated “It seems outrageous to take an entire home from someone for this.” Later Martin responded to court filings by the County Attorney by stating, “All the filings in the world don’t make it ok for the government to steal from you.”