Interesting Items from the 2015 Baltimore Tax Sale List

Every year the city auctions off property (both lots and structures) when the property owner fails to pay municipal fees, like water bills and property taxes. Many of these parcels are owned by people who have no idea what to do, in order to save their homes. There is help available, for those who need it.

However, it’s always interesting to see how many investor-owned properties, many of which are blighted vacants, end up on the tax sale list. The 2015 list contains a total of 28,857 properties. The liens range from a low of $250 to a high of $1,814,710. Of these properties, 3,743 are owned by LLCs, many of them forfeited (The most notable LLC name has to be Bump Bump Wump of Gump, LLC. Catchy…but forfeited, and they owe $16,128 on a house on Springdale Avenue. Another chunk of properties are owned by corporations, trusts, and other entities — add those to the LLCs and it makes up about a quarter to one third of the list overall.

The usual suspects are on the list, too:  Holabird Investments, CE Realty (27 properties), Stanley Rochkind through his various shell companies (65 properties with liens on them), John Reiff, Anthony Delaurentis and John Reid — under their various shell companies, they have over 70 properties listed. Various Skyline entities own 176 properties on the list, and Rex Frost has a mere six. The Mayor and City Council are on the hook for 18 properties, one of which has a lien on it for over $104,000 — 2103 Hollins Street, which is a blighted vacant probably not worth much more than $5000.

Seeing all of these properties on the list gives me hope that perhaps they’ll be purchased by someone who will fix them up and do good things with them. I think two thirds of my neighborhood is on the list — at least half. Just one more piece of the fallout from the mortgage bust, and what happens when predatory buyers swoop in and purchase properties with the hopes of getting rich quick.

Here’s the full list, for those who might be interested in becoming responsible property owners. Good luck, and best of luck to those who are trying to save their homes — make sure you avail yourself of the workshops offering legal help — the first one is this coming Saturday!

6 comments

    • Baltimore Slumlord Watch

      I think it would definitely affect their bond rating, which is a secondary reason for having the sale in the first place, assuming they recoup some of this money…which I assume they will. You’re right — some of these debts are insane. How could someone amass over $109,000 in liens on a house in the 1100 block of Carroll Street in Pigtown? It just makes no sense, and there are many other examples like this — some where the debts far outweigh the value of the property, beyond all reason.

  1. Amos

    I won the certificate on a vacant, on a desirable block, on May 21, 2012 and immediately hired a top real estate firm in the City to do all that was necessary to gain title. On Oct. 2, 2014, we finally got the judgment foreclosing the right of redemption. Sorry, but 2 1/2 years to get title to a vacant doesn’t work for a developer. The City just doesn’t care because they refuse to hire enough clerks and judges to timely process the petitions.

  2. Pingback: Monthly Update | Housing Policy Watch
  3. puddinpop brooklyn

    if the City didn’t keep coming with fees and new ways and reasons to tax, owners of all types might be able to pay their bills and stay off the lien list. instead many of us feel like City cash cows. More people might buy houses to live in if there were not so many hidden costs to ownership.. Right now, between arbitrary taxes and a lengthy process to challenge them, ever-increasing water and related charges – even if not a drop is used – and let’s not forget arbitrary fines. It’s enough to scare off residents and investors alike.
    There are all kinds of people who bought properties in Baltimore. Many are not slum lords. They are all types of people, looking for cheap houses in a city they just know HAS to turn around. But it’s leadership just doesn’t get it and sees every evidence of every act of real estate non-compliance as an opportunity to reap profits in punishment.
    I’d encourage more people to come invest and live in Baltimore if I didn’t think the City would fleece them and that their kids would get killed or addicted to drugs.

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