October 4, 2010
I must agree with the letter by April I. Smith (Readers respond, Oct. 1) when she says that "It would have been nice if the ... Sunpapers had seen fit to let readers know about the ground rent registry deadline before it was too late to save their property. " I heard nothing about this until it happened to be mentioned on a morning news show on September 29, 2010 on WYPR, the day before the deadline to mail the registration. Although I have only four such properties, which were part of my father's estate and produce very little return, I wholehearted agree that this seems to be the best kept legislative secret.
October 29, 2011
The Sun's recent editorial regarding ground rents ("Fixing ground rent," Oct. 27) objects to the Maryland Court of Appeals finding that the legislature cannot just take property from ground rent owners. Of course, the legislation developed because of reporting by The Sun on abuses of the system by some in the past. However, you seem to feel that all current ground rent owners need to be punished because of this. Why is that? The government has data on who owns the ground rents, except their records are screwed up. My sister and I had a few properties turned over to us by a relative in 1992, and appropriate fees and paperwork were filed with Baltimore City.
June 25, 2010
On Sunday, The Baltimore Sun resumed hunting its favorite paper tiger — ground rent owners. In "Ground rent redux" (June 20) you again decried ground rent ejectments. Yet, ejectment is yesterday's news. Despite the editorial's claim, our class action does not seek to revive ejectment, now three years extinct. Rather, we merely seek to protect property and contractual rights to collect ground rent. Here, the editorial is again misinformed, saying "Owners still have the ability to collect their rents."
January 18, 2011
From the Real Estate Wonk blog: WA bunch of Maryland ground-rent owners were shocked when they discovered, too late, that they had to register their property by Sept. 29 of last year or it would cease to exist . One of those owners got a second surprise when he noticed that the state declared in its tax booklet -- incorrectly, as it happens -- that the deadline was September of this year. Colleague Andrea Siegel reports on that oopsie here here, which some ground-rent advocates say is adding to confusion about the law. Just after the actual deadline passed, I heard from about half a dozen people who say they didn't know and don't see why the state thought its occasional public notices were sufficient.
June 15, 2011
As someone who pays ground rent I feel compelled to respond to the letter "In defense of ground rents" (June 11) by Benedict Frederick Jr.. Your newspaper's series on ground rents shed necessary light on who collects and why in a time when it serves no purpose. Mr. Frederick defends it as a way for a few to make an income through a "mortgage" system. But in reality, homeowners already have a mortgage. The sad truth is that ground rent collectors have found a loophole in the law that allows them to collect money for no good reason.
June 20, 2010
From fat-cat Wall Street financiers to oil-polluting energy companies like BP, nobody induces public rage quite like the unprincipled speculator who makes huge profits by brazenly running roughshod over the average citizen. Such purveyors of greed and their wanton disregard for others are easily spotted but not so easily deterred — they usually come armed with lawyers. Four years ago, two Baltimore Sun reporters identified this sort of behavior in a previously overlooked provision of ground rent, the arcane and loosely regulated system wherein homeowners lease the land on which their houses are built.