The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Baltimore Homeowner to Be Evicted

Aug 21, 2023

A woman who had lived with her family for 18 years, in a home she bought in Baltimore, just found out the house was sold from under her. Her lawyer says she was not informed about an unpaid water bill. The new owner’s lawyer says the sale was legal, etc.

The real problem is that Baltimore city and a few other places in Maryland still have the power to sell houses at the yearly tax sale, when a homeowner owes even a few hundred dollars. In fact, over the last seven years, more than 40,000 homes were sold at the tax sales and out of those, hundreds, if not thousands, were occupied by people who lost their homes to investors. These investors help destroy neighborhoods to make money.

Real estate investors pay the city or state a small amount to hold the home, while an entire legal process goes on over what is supposed to happen. A person owing a few hundred dollars in taxes or water bill is likely a person unable to pay a lawyer to go to court and help them solve the mess.

This Baltimore woman has a lawyer fighting for her. What about thousands more? Baltimore is a city where the city itself cannot keep track of who owns which empty homes, cannot hire enough people to resolve multi-thousand-dollar water bills sent out in error, and agreed in 2019 to a moratorium on throwing people out of their homes over unpaid bills. Then the city began the process again to throw out people now that the mayor had a new proposal.

Hopefully, this woman will get her home back, but even so, the city is responsible for these scams on poorer residents.