Baltimore Mayor Postpones Tax Sale

Baltimore, Maryland

The City of Baltimore is eliminating all owner-occupied properties from its tax sale list and deferring the annual auction of delinquent property taxes until June, stated Mayor Brandon Scott at a recent meeting of the Board of Estimates. This would help long-term residents stay in their homes and prevent residences from becoming unoccupied.

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This decision does not absolve any debts, but it does enable thousands of homeowners at least a year to catch up on their back taxes before being placed on the tax sale list again.

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Scott removed over 970 owner-occupied properties on the tax sale list last year. Last Monday, Scott more than tripled that number, announcing that the city will remove all owner-occupied properties from the tax sale list, a decision he described as “extremely personal.”

“It could very well be my parents or my aunts or my uncles or folks who have worked their whole lives in Baltimore,” Scott said. “This is about making sure that we are protecting people who have done so much for the city and stuck with the city.”

Last month, the deadline for property owners to pay unpaid taxes or face being placed on the tax auction list passed. The city’s preliminary tax list included roughly 4,150 owner-occupied residences when it was revealed earlier this year. The average amount owed was $2,190.00.

One of the campaigners who had urged the mayor to act on the tax auction was John Kern of the Stop Oppressive Seizures Fund.

“People have just been terrified,” Kern said of the tax sale. “They’re just like, ‘What’s going to happen? Am I going to lose my house?’ ”

This will provide housing advocates like Kern more time to reach out to Baltimore residents and connect them with options like the Maryland Homeowner Assistance Fund. Many homeowners may not be aware that the program provides grants of up to $20,000 for homeowners with property tax issues, as well as loans of up to $40,000 for families who require mortgage help, according to Kern. The Tax Sale Exemption Program in Baltimore also allows successful applicants to have their property removed from the tax sale in the year they apply.

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Christopher Charles spent 6 years in the mortgage industry before moving into the world of digital media. He's helped thousands of families buy and refinance real estate at banks and mortgage companies and now continues that mission through industry-leading content. Chris is known for his expertise in the mortgage & real estate industry and continues to produce content all over the web.

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