Owners urged to rent condo in soft market


February 20, 1994|By MICHAEL GISRIEL

Q: My husband and I are living in Ocean Pines, Md. Before moving here 2 1/2 years ago, we purchased a condo in Harford County, which we still own. We had a buyer for the condo, but before settlement the couple broke the contract due to the problems with the development. Now we must rent the condo or sell it. Since we live 140 miles away, it makes it very difficult to find renters. We have advertised in the past without any satisfaction. What should we do?

M. Berlin, Ocean Pines

A: You probably should put the condo up for sale or rent with a real estate broker in Harford County that offers sales and rentals, as well as management services for rental properties. Many potential sellers have found that they have to rent their properties rather than sell them in the soft real estate market during the past several years. This has been especially true for condos.

The market may pick up this spring and summer. And construction has been down the past several years, limiting the supply of existing homes, including condos, and perhaps increasing the demand for existing housing.

Q: Can you suggest an inexpensive way for me to collect overdue ground rent? I have done everything that I know but, after numerous notifications, the tenant has failed to make payments since March 1992.D. Mahlstedt, Baltimore

A: Under Maryland law, a ground rent owner can collect up to three years' delinquent ground rent from the homeowner. If the ground rent is more than six months delinquent, the ground rent owner can file an "ejectment action" against the defaulting homeowner. The homeowner has a right to redeem the ground rent by paying all delinquent ground rent plus all court costs and reasonable attorney fees.

Most real estate attorneys will charge $500 to file the ground rent ejectment action in court. If the overdue ground rent is not paid, an order will be signed giving title to the house to the ground rent owner. In your case, I would recommend writing one more letter threatening legal action and then hire an attorney to file the suit.

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