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Jamie Smith Hopkins | February 24, 2012
How many people spend more than half their income on housing costs? More than you might think. In the Baltimore area, one in five households with workers pulling down middle-income or lower-income wages fell into that pinched group in 2010, according to a new report by the Center for Housing Policy . That's nearly 85,000 households "severely burdened by their housing costs. " But it's not quite as bad as the nation overall, with nearly one in four of what the center dubs "working households" falling into that category.
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NEWS
By Kevin Rector and The Baltimore Sun | October 2, 2014
More than two dozen West Baltimore homeowners are suing the state of Maryland to block the planned Red Line transit project from tunneling beneath their block, contending that they were inappropriately left out of the planning process. They seek more than $22 million in damages for lost property value and emotional distress. "Right now, they've lost so much of the value of their homes," said Lewyn Scott Garrett, one of three attorneys representing the 25 homeowners in the 300 block of N. Fremont Ave. in the city's Poppleton neighborhood.
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BUSINESS
December 29, 2009
Homeowners who are in trouble on their mortgages or worried that they will get behind in the future can get a free legal consultation at a Jan. 10 foreclosure solutions workshop. The event, sponsored by nonprofits and staffed by attorneys, is scheduled from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center, 5700 Park Heights Ave. in Baltimore. Homeowners should pre-register by Jan. 6 by calling 410-466-1990, x0. - Jamie Smith Hopkins | The Baltimore Sun
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater and The Baltimore Sun | September 22, 2014
The City Council gave final approval Monday to a plan to offer up to $5,000 in tax credits to homeowners who move to new homes but choose to remain in the city. The Resident Retention Tax Credits - which will were approved unanimously by the council - are intended to help residents who lose their Homestead tax credits when they switch homes. The program was pushed at the state level by Del. Maggie McIntosh, a Baltimore Democrat. Her bill allowed city homeowners to transfer a portion of the Homestead tax credit from their old building to a new property.
BUSINESS
December 11, 2009
The state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation took action Thursday against three groups of companies and individuals it said defrauded Maryland homeowners. The agency said it suspended the licenses of Rockville-based ATT Mortgage Co. and Shawpin Jong, also known as Steve Chung, and accused the firm of getting at least 11 mortgages for borrowers by submitting false employment information about them. The state also suspended the license of Nicholas Elko, who worked with Baltimore-based Equitable Trust Mortgage Corp.
NEWS
February 17, 2012
The recent letter critical of the foreclosure settlement ("Settlement leaves out responsible homeowners," Feb. 15) made me sad. Does the writer really think that just because he acted responsibly - paid his taxes, never refinanced, and was current on his mortgage and association fees - that he should be rewarded with a onetime tax deduction? Isn't that just what one would be expected to do? What are we coming to when we think that it is extraordinary to do the right thing? There will be some who will receive settlement money that they don't deserve, but that happens in an imperfect world.
NEWS
February 14, 2012
I am concerned as a taxpayer and homeowner about the multi-state settlement in regard to foreclosures and mortgages. I have sympathy toward their plight, but homeowners who had little equity in their homes and thus little to lose have been walking away from them in droves, some with their credit ratings intact as banks have been overwhelmed and unable to complete foreclosure proceedings. Some have lived rent and mortgage free for months and years in houses on which they no longer pay taxes.
BUSINESS
By Jamie Smith Hopkins | jamie.smith.hopkins@baltsun.com | March 26, 2010
More than 90 attorneys were trained Friday to provide help to first-time home buyers and refinancing homeowners through a Maryland mortgage-fraud prevention effort. Civil Justice, the nonprofit coordinating the project, wants the attorneys to provide free legal assistance to qualified buyers and homeowners — checking out their loan documents and other paperwork to make sure the deals are in their best interest. The training was held at the Baltimore branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, which plans to study the pilot program's effectiveness and spread the word.
NEWS
March 24, 2010
A Southern Maryland legislator urged state lawmakers Tuesday to help homeowners on the eroding Calvert County cliffs overlooking Chesapeake Bay contend with an endangered beetle there that is hampering their efforts to save their homes from erosion of the bluffs. "We haven't lost any homes yet but ... it's just a matter of time," said Democratic Sen. Roy P. Dyson. The Senate Education Health and Environmental Affairs Committee heard two bills he had introduced. One would require the state under certain circumstances to let property owners destroy some Puritan tiger beetles living in the cliffs if need be to try to shore up their homes.
FEATURES
June 13, 2013
The heavy wind and rain this month have homeowners looking up - to their gutters. Nothing will alert you to clogs, leaks and loose fittings like a downpour. Home improvement experts, including Daniel Onyikeh of Lowes in Catonsville, offer some tips. •Make sure the gutters are clean, especially after a heavy rain when debris from trees and the roof collect there. This means checking every couple of weeks, not just in the fall. Clogs most often occur where the gutter meets the downspout, so check there.
NEWS
By Janene Holzberg and For The Baltimore Sun | September 15, 2014
Maintaining an environmentally friendly landscape at her family's home in Long Reach comes as second nature to Janine Pollack, who loves gardening and the outdoors. The pluses, some obvious and some not, are numerous. They include the inherent adaptability of native plants to the area's climate as well as their ability to attract insects, which attract birds, which attract wildlife. But the primary ecological benefit - which goes undetected by most visitors surveying the natural beauty of Pollack's outdoor canvas - is the ability of strategically placed landscaping to prevent polluted stormwater runoff from spoiling waterways and eventually fouling the Chesapeake Bay. Such benefits, and the principles behind them, will explained to visitors Sept.
NEWS
August 21, 2014
I could not agree more with your editorial regarding the minor privilege tax ( "Minor privilege, major disincentive," Aug. 13). While the article was business focused, this absurd tax also hits the residential property owners in the city. A couple of months after purchasing a home in Baltimore City in 2012, I received a bill for a minor privilege tax. Being new to the city, I had no idea what this tax was. After a couple of phone calls I found out that I will be charged a $193.25 yearly fee for having a second floor bay window on my house and for a 5-inch piece of conduit that runs under the sidewalk in front of my house.
BUSINESS
By Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun | August 13, 2014
After dragging his golf clubs and luggage off a shuttle bus in long-term parking near BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport on Wednesday afternoon, Leroy Donahue took several quick strides over to his shiny black Tesla Model S and peered through the window. The 77-year-old Arlington, Va., resident then circled his pricey high-tech electric car and, opening the hatchback, watched as water poured out. "Yep," he said, nodding to his travel buddy, Alain Labeau of Potomac. Just as he had suspected, his car - just 14 months old and still parked where he left it before heading off on a golf trip to Maine - had not been spared by the record-setting rainfall that dropped more than 6 inches on the airport and more than 10 inches on other parts of the region on Tuesday, leaving vehicles flooded in lots and on roadways all over.
NEWS
By Joe Burris, The Baltimore Sun | June 30, 2014
Clifton Wilson, an inmate at the state's Eastern Pre-Release Unit, spent last week in the great outdoors, relocating oysters from cages on private piers near Thomas Point on the Chesapeake Bay to a sanctuary in nearby Glebe Bay. To the North East resident, it was a throwback to growing up near waters teeming with wildlife. For state officials eager to help rebuild the oyster population, Wilson's work was an example of getting people involved in the Marylanders Grow Oysters program.
FEATURES
By Jamie Smith Hopkins, The Baltimore Sun | June 13, 2014
Home improvement projects can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars, which means the stakes are high if something goes wrong. And things do. Maryland regulators received more than 4,400 complaints about home improvement contractors in the last three fiscal years, ranging from disputes about the scope of the project to no work performed at all. The Maryland Home Improvement Commission, which offers a program where homeowners can be reimbursed some...
NEWS
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | March 17, 2014
The House of Delegates unanimously approved a bill Monday aimed at helping Baltimore retain more homeowners. The measure, which goes now to the Senate, would let city homeowners transfer a portion of their Homestead tax credit from their old dwelling to a new property for several years. It is part of a five-bill package pushed by Del. Maggie McIntosh, a Baltimore Democrat, which aims to look for ways to reduce the city's high property tax rate, which is at least double that of surrounding counties.
BUSINESS
By Jamie Smith Hopkins, The Baltimore Sun | October 3, 2011
Maryland's housing department said Monday that it had managed to commit all the nearly $57 million it had for emergency loans to homeowners facing foreclosure, money that had to be used up by last Friday or returned to the federal government. Staffers at the state Department of Housing and Community Development worked until midnight that day to process the final batch of loans, which can repay amounts past due on mortgages and help borrowers with their monthly payments for up to two years.
BUSINESS
By Jamie Smith Hopkins, The Baltimore Sun | April 1, 2011
Maryland received $40 million in federal aid to help struggling homeowners make their mortgage payments after losing a job or taking an income hit, state and federal officials announced Friday. Borrowers could receive as much as $50,000 in interest-free loans to pay off past-due amounts and to make up to two years of payments. They must have sustained an income loss of at least 15 percent, be three to 12 months behind on their mortgage and have a "reasonable likelihood" of being able to get back on their feet.
NEWS
Tim Wheeler | March 3, 2014
Lawmakers in Annapolis moved Monday night to take another look at Maryland's arcane ground-rent system only days after the state's highest court invalidated a key element of sweeping reforms enacted seven years ago. Emergency ground-rent bills were introduced in both House and Senate to, as one sponsor put it, "resurrect" some of the provisions of the law declared unconstitutional Wednesday by the Court of Appeals.  Since Colonial times, many...
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