Baltimore City Moves to Keep Homeowners From Losing Their Home in the Annual Tax Sale

Exterior of rowhouses in Hampden. Photo by F Kim Hodgson via Flickr.

What’s happening?

Baltimore City will remove owner-occupied homes from the annual tax sale for the third year in a row for homes worth $250,000 or less, allowing homeowners a year to catch up on overdue taxes before the next sale, Emily Opilo reports for the Baltimore Sun. 

How many properties were removed from the tax sale?

The city removed about 1,804 homes from the tax sale—an annual auction at which the city sells the right to collect past-due taxes, typically to debt collectors who add interest and fees. Collectively, homeowners owe more than $13 million in taxes. 

This year’s reduction is less than the 2,900 homes removed last year, though significantly more than the 973 removed in 2021. Councilwoman Odette Ramos said that 170 owner-occupied homes are still on the tax sale list.  

At a press conference on Wednesday, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said he chose the $250,000 or less threshold to help the families most in need as city residents continue to recover from the pandemic. He also vowed to continue supporting legislation that would reform the tax sale process.

Anything else I should know? 

Baltimore officials backed legislation proposed in the Maryland General Assembly earlier this year that would cancel the annual tax sale—which housing advocates have long called predatory, particularly for the city’s lowest income and Black residents—and create a separate tax collection system with payment plans. However, the bill was not passed.

You can read more here.

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