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Raise city's tax sales threshold

I totally agree that the threshold amount that triggers the tax sale of a home in Baltimore City should be raised ("Tax arrears imperil homes," Oct. 27). The current procedure is very unfair, causing many homeowners to lose their homes due to small amounts of taxes owed. I would like to suggest two additional steps. I believe that the amended threshold amount should also apply to owners of rental properties and that reminder notices should be sent to owners before the tax lien sale process is begun.

Recently, my wife and I owned a rental property in Charles Village. We almost lost it in a tax sale due to an unpaid ground rent bill, less than $100. This resulted not because we were unable to pay the bill or because we willfully neglected to pay it but because I forgot to pay it on time. It was my fault — we were in the process of moving at the time and had lots of other things on our minds. Insurance companies and doctor's offices quickly enough send reminder notices of overdue bills but not Baltimore City. The property went to tax lien sale and it cost us several thousands of dollars in demands by the ground rent owner and in legal fees to recover it.

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I believe that these minor changes would help many people save their homes and would make Baltimore a much more user-friendly city.

George Stiegler, Ellicott City

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