After Post Investigation, City Cancels 2013 Tax Lien Sales

Sep 16th, 2013 | By | Category: Business, Government, Politics, Washington, DC

How’s this for a Friday news dump? Less than a week after the Washington Post started its series on problems in the Office of Tax and Revenue’s tax lien sales, Mayor Vince Gray and Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi announced the cancelation of 2013 tax lien sales on around 142 homes.

The cancelation will apply to liens for buildings that receive a “homestead deduction”—meaning they’re occupied by their owners and the foreclosure process that could take away their homes hasn’t started yet. Gray spokesman Pedro Ribeiro says the 142 lien cancelation’s are expected to cost “a few hundred thousand” dollars, but less than a million. Lien sales from previous years that are headed toward foreclosure will also be examined for potential cancelation.

“While these properties will be saved from the possibility of imminent foreclosure, the homeowners will still be required to pay the taxes and interest owed on the property,” the release reads. “Most importantly, they will be able to stay in their homes.”

Gray’s release also details the tax sale legislation he’s planning to send to the D.C. Council Monday. The legislation will include a $2,200 cap on legal fees that tax lien purchasers can charge to homeowners and the creation of an independent “Real Property Tax Ombudsman” separate from the Office of Tax and Revenue. Properties that qualify for the homestead deduction would also be ineligible for tax lien sales until they reached $2,500 in unpaid taxes. OTR would also be able to initiate payment plans with delinquent taxpayers.

Read more @ The Washington City Paper

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