Cutting back on foreclosures -- the tax-sale kind
Responding to cases in which local governments -- primarily Baltimore -- have foreclosed on homes over small debts, including unpaid water and sewer bills, legislators have coalesced around a bill that would increase the threshold for debts that can trigger a tax sale, cap attorneys fees and provide a safety net for the needy. ...
As drafted, the bill would increase the minimum debt that could trigger a tax sale from $100 to $250, and cap attorney fees at between $1,300 and $1,500, depending on the status of the case.
Readers with good memories will recall that The Sun brought to light the fact that "at least 400 city homes were lost over debts other than property taxes during a recent three-year period." Much of the foreclosure-prevention focus has been on mortgages, but the city's tax-sale numbers show that homeowners lose their property over unpaid water bills, alley repaving charges and other fees, too.