The Hillsdale County Circuit Court foreclosed the property on 23 and 25 N. Broad St. on Wednesday.
The business that owns the property, Mortgage Management LLC, did not appear in court to defend the foreclosure. The owners still have time, however, to retain ownership of the property.
“April 2 is the last day someone can pay to prevent foreclosure,” said Stephenie Kyser, Hillsdale County treasurer. “If they have a lot of older years, I’m requiring that they pay older years first. But to prevent the foreclosure, only the 2015 taxes would technically have to be paid.”
Although the property owners owe more than $50,000, the foreclosure notice requires a payment of $3,566.23 to redeem the property — at least for the time being.
After April 2, the county will take possession of the property, if the owner still does not pay the taxes. In that case, the county may try to sell the land at a public auction.
“We always hold it in September, usually the middle of September,” Kyser said. “Whatever doesn’t sell in September, we have a second auction toward the end of October, first of November.”
The first auction requires a minimum bid equal to the amount of back property taxes owed to the county. In this case, that’s more than $50,000. The second auction requires a minimum bid of $25. If the property sells at neither auction, then the county will retain ownership. There’s a chance, however, that the City of Hillsdale takes the property first.
“I have to offer it to the city, as well, before I have the auction,” Kyser said. “They have a right of first refusal.”
Kyser said she plans to talk to Hillsdale’s city manager to gauge their interest. The city, however, would have to pay back taxes to the county.
Last week, The Collegian reported that city officials did not want to buy the property:
“The city will not take it, because he has 10 years of back taxes on the property, and it’s also mortgaged,” Planning and Zoning Administrator Alan Beeker said. “Unless the bank is willing to sign over the property, the city is not going to take on the property and all the debt, as well.”
Jeff Fazekas, co-owner of Mortgage Management LLC, said the city won’t take the property.
“The city is going to push it back onto the county and they’re going to try to force the county to spend money so the city doesn’t have to,” Fazekas said. “Whoever buys the property the city will pound to get the work done.”
Fazekas estimated that the property could cost upward of $1 million to repair before the city will give an occupancy permit, making it a difficult sell for future buyers.