Legislators who fought for those reforms said they will meet later this month to consider further legislative changes to ground rent, said Del. Maggie McIntosh, a Baltimore Democrat and sponsor of the previous ground rent legislation.

"We are going to look over the opinion and see how we can satisfy the court's concerns," said McIntosh. "We are going to look at the concerns of both sides."

Ground rent owners say the 2007 law unfairly punished them, especially the penalty for failing to register. The court ruling leaves that requirement in place but does away with extinguishment.

Meanwhile, homeowners are left wondering.

"I am just waiting to see how this is going to play out," said Joelle Woolston, a microbiology researcher who filed for an extinguishment on the ground rent on the Riverside home she and her husband have owned for nearly a decade.

No ground rent owner has been identified in records or stepped forward, Woolston said. "To me it seems like if nobody has collected on it in 10 years, then it should go away."

Mark Wilson, who works for a software company, said he wants to do right by the man to whom he formerly paid ground rent, be he's waiting to hear from the state as to what he should do.

"I'll have this framed; it's a historical record now," he said of his extinguishment certificate.

andrea.siegel@baltsun.com

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