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Mayor Vince Gray isn’t the only District politician cooking up legislation to stop the sale of delinquent tax liens following last weekend’s Washington Post investigation. Councilmember (and mayoral candidate) Jack Evans, whose finance committee oversees the Office of Tax and Revenue, tells LL that he’s working on his own bill to solve the problem of people losing their homes over a few hundred dollars in unpaid taxes.
Evans’ legislation, which he plans to introduce when the Council reconvenes next Tuesday, would stop all sales on liens owed by veterans, the handicapped, and senior citizens. Evans says his bill will also raise the ceiling on lien sales from $1,000 to $2,000, and cap the amount of attorney fees delinquent taxpayers would pay to the owners of their liens at $1,500.
If a lien purchaser forecloses on a property and eventually sells it, Evans says his bill would require them to pay the difference between the sales price and the original lien amount back to the original property owner, allowing the initial homeowner to retain the equity they built up in the property.
Evans says he’s “outraged” by the Post story, but he doesn’t have to be so surprised. Last year, a homeowners’ rights group warned both Gray and Evans about problems with the program.
Evans says he hasn’t talked to Gray yet about the legislation. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson is working with Evans on the bill, according to Mendelson’s chief of staff.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery