Detroit To Waive Old Fees On Property Sales

City previously required new building owners to pay off building debts from previous owners

For a city with a reputation for being anti-business, Detroit is making a move that economic developers are applauding.

The city is stopping its practice of holding the new owner who purchases property responsible for paying off old fees before taking ownership, according to Durene L. Brown, city ombudsman for Detroit.

The announcement came in a Sept. 26 email from David Bell, interim director for the Buildings, Safety, Engineering and Environmental Department in Detroit. In the email, Bell said the city was developing a new policy and while that's happening fees left unpaid by any previous owners, "are not to negatively impact the new owner of a property ..."

It is unclear how long the policy will be in place.

Bell didn't respond to an email or phone message seeking comment. Mayor Dave Bing's media spokespeople Robert Warfield and Linda Vinyard also didn't respond to phone messages or emails left for comment.

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John Avery, executive director of the Michigan Economic Developers Association, said if the city is waiving past fees for new owners it would be beneficial for potential development.

He said that although the sales price of property in Detroit can be low, back taxes and back fees could be double or triple the cost of the property.

"Any steps in that direction would be helpful," Avery said.

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See also:

Detroit Still Sending Tax Notices 15 Years After Company Closed

Is the Problem In Detroit Really a Lack Of Revenue?

Analysis: Incorrect Population Figures Means State Has Overpaid Detroit For Past Decade

National Commentary Wrong About Detroit's Failure

Detroit Bankruptcy: Why the Emergency Manager Powers Were Insufficient

Former State Treasurer Diverts Blame For Detroit's Problems

Detroit's Fiscal Emergency Cannot Wait; Manager Needs To Fix Administration

Detroit Exhausts Its Options


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A “bottlenecker” is someone who uses the power of the government to limit competition in the market and artificially boost their own profits. Bottleneckers use a variety of methods to achieve their goals, including tax loopholes, regulations, occupational licensing requirements, minimum wage laws and many more. The end result when these special interest bottleneckers succeed is fewer choices and higher prices for consumers, fewer job opportunities for workers and less innovation throughout the economy.

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