By CBS Baltimore Staff

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott announced Monday that the city will remove thousands of owner-occupied homes from this year’s tax sale, by removing new owner-occupied tax liens from the tax sale.

The annual tax sale event allows Baltimore to auction off unpaid property debts to third parties to pay them off. The investors can then charge the homeowners up to 12% interest for paying off their debts. If residents cannot pay, their homes could be foreclosed.

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In March, Scott said he wanted to make sure people didn’t lose their homes to a tax sale in the middle of the pandemic. But more than 3,100 owner-occupied homes remained on the list for the May 17 tax sale earlier this month.

In order to keep that promise, Scott said, “I directed the city administrator and the finance director to take the necessary action to protect Baltimore’s most vulnerable legacy homeowners, prior to this year’s tax sale on May 17.”

First, the city will be removing new owner-occupied tax liens from the process.

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Scott said the city will closely monitor the 2021 tax sale and take action to support homeowners immediately following this year’s sale.

Three full time employees have been dedicated to assist homeowners.

Residents experiencing issues related to the tax sale, you can call 410-396-3556 to be connected to a member of the bureau of revenue collections.

The mayor is still working on a long-term solution.

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“My administration will also pursue local and state policy changes that will give the city more local control over the tax sale process,” Scott said.

CBS Baltimore Staff