Is It Too Late to Save My House from Tax Lien Sale?
TAX SALES ARE SCHEDULED IN BALTIMORE CITY ON MAY 16TH
Is it too late to save my house from tax lien sale? NO!
By Kay Harding
Tax Lien Certificate Sales occur when a homeowner does not pay their real property taxes or other municipal charges. Once a homeowner becomes delinquent, the local government can sell their property at what is called a Tax Lien Certificate Sale.
Homeowners that are at risk of their homes going into tax sale include those that do not have a mortgage to escrow their property taxes and homeowners that are not capable of keeping up with their financial affairs, which includes paying high property taxes.
Do you know of a senior who is facing tax lien sale due to overdue property taxes or water bills? Do you know someone that has an extremely high water bill and has been struggling to catch up? Do you know someone that cannot afford to pay their property taxes?
Attorneys at Maryland Legal Aid know several homeowners that are at risk of losing their homes to tax sale. For example, Mr. Smith* – who is 74-years-old – was facing tax sale due to an unpaid water bill of $1,086.53 which was the result of a leak in his property. With the help of an advocate and several organizations, he was able to identify the water leak and repair the problem. Once he repaired the problem and provided proof of the repair, he was able to request an adjustment to his water bill and prevent his home that he had lived in for over thirty years from going into tax sale.
Additionally, with the help from an advocate, he was able to obtain valuable information on senior citizen discount programs, low-income water assistance programs, and hardship exemption applications.
He was also able to obtain information on Maryland Homeowner’s Property Tax Credit because he was struggling to pay his high real property taxes. The application for the Maryland Homeowner’s Property Tax Credit is due by September 1 st of each year (Visit www.baltimoretaxcredit.com.)
Mr. Smith was fortunate to have someone step in to assist him before the tax sale occurred. However, it is not too late to obtain assistance even after the sale occurs. Ms. Jones’* home was sold at tax sale last year for $3,753.04 for unpaid real property taxes and water bills. When she finally contacted an advocate, she had to pay the tax lien certificate amount and over $2,000 in attorney’s fees and expenses, which cost her over $6,000.00 to keep her home. We recommend that you ACT NOW to prevent paying for attorney’s fees and expenses.
Don’t be discouraged! Here are a few additional resources which may be helpful:
1. Bid Baltimore for Frequently Asked Questions: www.bidbaltimore.com
2. Baltimore City Department of Public Works, Water Bill Assistance: http://publicworks.baltimorecity.gov/customer-support-services
3. Community Resources (Housing Counselors, Advocates, and Attorneys): http://taxsale.baltimorecity.gov/community-resources
4. Baltimore City Resource Guide (Housing Counselors, Advocates, and Attorneys): http://www.baltimorecity.gov/sites/default/files/Advocate%20Tax%20Sale%20Resource%20Guide.pdf
Help is available. Talk with an attorney, housing counselor, or advocate IMMEDIATELY – DO NOT DELAY.
*The names used are fictitious to maintain client confidentiality.