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Michigan Step Forward Program Helps Pay Delinquent Condominium Assessments

The Michigan Step Forward Program provides governmental assistance to Michigan residents, based upon financial need, in order to help with the payment of condominium assessments, mortgage payments and property taxes.  As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the State of Emergency declared in Michigan, the program has received an increased volume of applications as roughly 1 in 10 Michiganders have filed for unemployment since March 8, 2020.
On April 3, 2020, Hirzel Law, PLC contacted the Michigan Step Forward Program regarding the continuation of the program and received the following response:

Yes, are still open and still taking applications. Applications are being processed a bit slower due to the volume received and we do believe we have enough funding for most of the year until sometime in the fall.
We have not heard anything about whether or not we will receive additional federal funding to continue beyond our expected shut down at this time.

Given that the Michigan Step Forward Program may run out of funds later this year, it is important that Michigan condominium associations are proactive about participating in this program.  Hirzel Law, PLC is recommending that all Michigan condominium associations complete the necessary application to participate in the Michigan Step Forward Program.  We can assist your condominium association in preparing its application for a flat fee.  We are also encouraging condominium associations to inform their co-owners of the Michigan Step Forward Program in the event that a delinquent co-owner needs help with paying their condominium assessments.  This program is a great tool for condominium associations to collect delinquent assessments and maintain essential services during the coronavirus pandemic.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the Michigan Step Forward Program and how did it come about?

Congress passed the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (EESA) or Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to help people that were severely impacted by the housing crisis. In 2010 the federal government created the Hardest Hit Fund to provide money to states to assist people with the payment of condominium assessments, mortgage payments and property taxes.  The program was initially started with $1.5 billion dollars in 5 states and was later expanded to a $9.6 billion dollar initiative in 18 states and the District of Columbia.  The Michigan Step Forward Program was created with TARP funds and has received $761 million dollars since it was created.  However, Congress will need to provide additional funding in the future in order for the program to continue.

  1. What is the maximum loan amount and can it be forgiven?

The Michigan Step Forward can provide a $30,000 interest free loan.  The loan may be forgiven in the amount of 20% of the loan for each year, as long as the property remains the homeowner’s primary residence.  Accordingly, after 5 years, the loan may be completely forgiven.

  1. What are the requirements to apply?
  • An applicant must be able a Michigan resident that has an ownership interest in the property that is occupied as their primary residence.
  • The applicant must have suffered an involved hardship event, such as a medial event, job loss or underemployment, death or divorce, and have cash reserves less than $10,000 (not including retirement accounts).
  • After the delinquency is resolved, you must be able to maintain your housing payments moving forward. The program indicates that your monthly housing expenses must be less than or equal to 45% of your gross household income.
  • An applicant must not have been convicted of a financial related felony within the last 10 years.
  1. Does a condominium association need to do anything?

Yes, a condominium association must be on the program’s approved list in order for a co-owner to participate.  The attorney’s at Hirzel Law, PLC have experience in completing these applications and gathering the necessary information to apply.

Click here to learn more about the Michigan Step Forward Program.

Kevin Hirzel is the Managing Member of Hirzel Law, PLC and concentrates his practice on commercial litigation, community association law, condominium law, Fair Housing Act compliance, homeowners association and real estate law. Mr. Hirzel is a fellow in the College of Community Association Lawyers, a prestigious designation given to less than 175 attorneys in the country. He has been a Michigan Super Lawyer’s Rising Star in Real Estate Law from 2013-2019, an award given to only 2.5% of the attorneys in Michigan each year. Mr. Hirzel has been named a Leading Lawyer in Condominium & HOA law by Leading Lawyers Magazine in 2018 and 2019, an award given to less than 5% of the attorneys in Michigan each year. He represents community associations, condominium associations, cooperatives, homeowners associations, property owners and property managers throughout Michigan. He may be reached at (248) 480-8758 or kevin@hirzellaw.com.

Written by

kevin@hirzellaw.com

Kevin Hirzel is the Managing Member of Hirzel Law, PLC. Hirzel Law has offices in Farmington, Grand Rapids, and Traverse City and services clients throughout the State of Michigan. Mr. Hirzel focuses his practice on condominium law, homeowners association law, and real estate law. He is a fellow in the College of Community Association Lawyers (“CCAL”), a prestigious designation given to less than 175 attorneys in the country. Mr. Hirzel formerly served on the CCAL National Board of Governors and is a former member of the Community Associations Institute’s (“CAI”) Board of Trustees, an international organization with over 40,000 members worldwide that is dedicated to improving community associations. Mr. Hirzel has been recognized as a Leading Lawyer in Michigan by Leading Lawyers, a distinction earned by fewer than 5% of all lawyers licensed in Michigan. He has been named a Michigan “Rising Star” in real estate law by Super Lawyers Magazine, a designation is given to no more than 2.5% of the attorneys in Michigan each year. Mr. Hirzel was also named as a “Go-To-Lawyer” in condominium and real estate law by Michigan Lawyer’s Weekly. Hirzel Law was also voted the best law firm in Metro Detroit in the Detroit Free Press Best of the Best awards. He is the Co-Chairman of the State Bar of Michigan’s Real Property Law Section Committee for Condominiums, PUDs & Cooperatives. Mr. Hirzel has authored numerous articles on community association law for publications such as the Michigan Community Association News, Michigan Real Property Review, Macomb County Bar Briefs and the Washington Post. He is also the author of “Hirzel’s Handbook: How to operate a Michigan Condo or HOA”, which is available for purchase on amazon.com. Mr. Hirzel has been interviewed on community association legal issues by various media outlets throughout the country, such as CBS, CNBC, Common Ground Magazine, Community Association Management Insider, the Dan Abrams Show on SiriusXM Radio, the Detroit News, Dr. Drew Midday Live on KABC Radio, Fox Business News, Fox News, HOALeader.com, the Law & Crime Network, Michigan Lawyer’s Weekly, NPR, WWJ News Radio and WXYZ. Mr. Hirzel is a dynamic speaker and frequently lectures on community association law throughout Michigan, as well as nationally at the CAI National Law Seminar, and is a two-time winner of the best manuscript award at the CAI National Law Seminar.

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