State's top court to hear challenge to 2007 ground rent law

Appeal claims registration requirement takes away property

February 19, 2011|By Andrea F. Siegel, The Baltimore Sun

The Court of Appeals agreed Friday to tackle a legal challenge to Maryland's 2007 ground rent law. The challenge was brought by Charles Muskin, who lost a lawsuit in Baltimore over the requirement that ground rent owners register the land or lose the ground rent.

Muskin, whose grandfather's estate included ground rents, had argued that the requirement was an unconstitutional taking of property.

A judge ruled in favor of the state, saying that the law conditioned continued ownership of ground rents on compliance with the registration requirement. The law was changed because people had lost their homes due to not paying small sums in rent for land the homes are on.

The Court of Appeals has listed the case for its fall term. A second challenge to the law has not yet gone to trial.

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