Maryland Foreclosure Laws Revised…..Again

by Tom Schild

Maryland foreclosure laws have been revised again for the fifth consecutive year.  Previously, changes were made to provide homeowners with more time, additional notices, and an opportunity for mediation before a foreclosure sale can occur.

For condominiums and homeowner associations, newly enacted mediation procedures could further delay lender foreclosure sales.  But, new post-sale notice requirements could help associations track foreclosure sales and collect post-sale assessments.

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley last year appointed a Maryland Foreclosure Task Force to examine recent foreclosure trends in Maryland and to make recommendations regarding state government policies to aid homeowners and neighborhoods impacted by home foreclosures

Foreclosure Mediation  

Adopting a  recommendation of the January 2012 Task Force report, the Maryland General Assembly amended the foreclosure laws to allow a lender and homeowner to participate in “pre-file mediation” with a government mediator before a foreclosure court suit is filed.  To participate in such mediation, the owner must receive housing counseling services from a non-profit organization or government agency.  Where there is “pre-file mediation”, the homeowner will not be entitled to additional mediation after a foreclosure suit is filed (HB 1374).

Foreclosed Property Registry

Separately, a bill to establish a Foreclosed Property Registry was enacted.  A foreclosure purchaser will be required to notify the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation (DLLR) after a sale has occurred and after a deed is recorded.  This will allow government agencies to better locate the foreclosure purchaser after the sale until the property is formally transferred by recording a new deed in the land records.

The purchaser information filed with the Foreclosed Property Registry will be available only to DLLR and local government officials.  Those agencies may provide the information to a person who lives on the same block as the foreclosed property is located and to a homeowners association or condominium where the property is located (HB 1373).

Post-sale Notice

Additionally, the purchaser of residential property at a foreclosure sale will now be required to provide a copy of the court ratification order to the tax office for the County where the foreclosed property is located.  This is intended to enable state and local governments to collect the correct property tax due for property which is no longer owner-occupied from the date of foreclosure sale regardless of when the deed in recorded (SB 123).

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