BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Mayor Brandon Scott postponed the city’s annual tax sale on houses to allow more homeowners to pay off existing liens on their properties on Wednesday.

Scott said he directed the Department of Finance to remove all owner-occupied properties from the sale. This will allow homeowners to use the resources available to assist them in resolving issues with their liens, according to city officials.

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Roughly 2,900 owner-occupied properties were slated to be included in the sale, city officials said.

Stabilizing Baltimore’s communities is central to advancing the city’s vision for Equitable Neighborhood Development, Scott said. 

“Rebuilding our city must begin with stabilizing our homeowners; thanks to my legislation and the Mayor’s decisive leadership, we are protecting thousands of residents across the City today,” Councilwoman Danielle McCray said.

McCray’s legislation directs the director of finance to withhold specific properties from the tax sale.

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Scott is looking for longer-term reforms that can be made to the tax sale too, according to city officials.

Last fall, Scott announced the creation of a Tax Sale Work Group, which focuses on comprehensive reform of the tax sale process. The group is made up of housing advocates, legal aid professionals, and tax sale experts.

This is the first year the program is in effect. It has been tasked with identifying gaps in the system and ways to make the process more equitable.

Residents experiencing issues related to the tax sale should call 410-396-3556 to be connected with a member of the Bureau of Revenue Collections who is familiar with the tax sale process, city officials said.

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Residents waiting for their payment to post, who are appealing a bill, or who are unsure about whether they qualify for additional support should contact 410-396-3556 too, according to city officials.

CBS Baltimore Staff