Business Real Estate

Sun series: On shaky ground

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

  • 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.

  • On shaky ground

    On shaky ground

    An archaic law is being used to turn Baltimoreans out of their homes

  • How ground rent holders pursue claims

    Parties that file bids to seize Baltimore properties are said to 'go through the hoops'

  • The new lords of the land

    A small number of investors who own many Baltimore ground rents often sue delinquent payers, obtaining their houses or substantial fees

  • Demands for reform

    Even as critics call for loosening ground rent's grip on Baltimore, new ones are being created