Sun series: On shaky ground

About the series

The Sun investigates Baltimore's arcane system of ground rents, widely viewed as a harmless vestige of colonial law, that is increasingly being used by some investors to seize homes or extract large fees from people who often are ignorant of the loosely regulated process. (Sun photo by Elizabeth Malby / July 5, 2006)

A Sun investigation into the secretive ground rent business in Baltimore.

December 10, 2006

SUN INVESTIGATION

On shaky ground

Baltimore's arcane system of ground rents, widely viewed as a harmless vestige of colonial law, is increasingly being used by some investors to seize homes or extract large fees from people who often are ignorant of the loosely regulated process, an investigation by The Sun has found.

December 10, 2006

ON SHAKY GROUND

How ground rent holders pursue claims

A ground rent holder can file an ejectment lawsuit in Baltimore City Circuit Court to seize a house if payments are more than six months overdue, and if the holder received no response to a certified letter to the property owner's "last known address."

December 11, 2006

SUN INVESTIGATION

The new lords of the land

Paul W. Nochumowitz describes himself as a bail bondsman who takes home $14,000 a year and is bankrupt.

December 12, 2006

SUN INVESTIGATION

Demands for reform

As they put up houses for sale, some Baltimore entrepreneurs are reviving an old practice to make new profits.

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