Detroit Blind Man Evicted From Home Because Tax Notices Were Addressed To Previous Owner

| by Khier Casino

A blind Detroit man is now facing homelessness after his home was sold on auction in October 2014 because of unpaid property taxes.

In 2011, Bruce Smith purchased a home on land contract, and it was just big enough for his seeing eye dog Marly and himself, WXYZ reports.

Smith lived on a fixed income, but he was still able to pay the home off last year. He received the deed for the home after the payoff and thought everything was okay until two men arrived at his door with an eviction notice.

"A couple of weeks ago, two men came to my door and told me I don't own it anymore," Smith told the station.

It turns out that taxes on the home had not been paid for several years. Smith says he never directly received a tax notice on the property. He believes some letters came to the house, but since they were addressed to the previous owner, he didn’t want to commit a federal crime by opening another person’s mail, so he returned them to the sender.

But when the taxes were still unpaid, the house went into foreclosure and was sold last October in the Wayne County Auction to Eastwood Ventures.

When Smith contacted the company, he was told he could stay in the home, but only if he pays rent or purchases the home again. Due to his fixed income, Smith cannot afford to buy the home back.

"I don't want to attribute it to me not being able to see the paperwork, that's no excuse,” Smith said. "I tried to be as independent as I can, maybe if I had someone looking closer to the paperwork, this wouldn't have happened.”

However, efforts are already underway that will allow him and his dog Marly to stay in the home, according to WXYZ.

Brent Maxwell, managing director for a Detroit investment group, decided to raise money to buy back the home after a friend posted Smith’s story on Facebook.

Maxwell contacted the new owner on Monday, and Eastwood Ventures agreed to sell the home back to Smith for $500. Closing is set for later this week.

Sources: WXYZ (2)