11-1-11: Paying Ground Rent to a Zombie
Halloween is over. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still zombies among us … or zombie ground rents, that is. Last week, Maryland’s highest court said a new state law that extinguished some 30-thousand unregistered ground rents was overreaching. The 2007 law stated ground rent owners had three years to register the leases with the state, or loose ownership of the leases. The court stated that taking those property rights without just compensation is unconstitutional — and that essentially brings all those unregistered ground rents back from the dead.
The 2007 law was passed after an investigation by the Baltimore Sun found that many people were losing their homes after failing to pay their ground rents.
Sheilah talks about what this means for both homeowners and ground rent owners with Paul Anderson, the Chief Legal Review Officer for the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation, which deals with filings for the state — including ground rents.