Bill to address D.C. victims of unfair foreclosures

WASHINGTON — District lawmakers are planning to introduce a number of emergency bills after outrage at learning the scope of a practice that has allowed unfair foreclosures in the nation’s capital.

“In fairness and in equity, maybe we should go back and see if there’s something we can do to make up what they suffered at our hands,” says Councilmember Mary Cheh.

Cheh is focusing specifically on potential victims.

“We have to figure out if there is some way we can offer something to those caught up in this unfair system,” she says.

For years, District officials have sold tax liens to predatory investors who foreclosed on homes. The system led to some property owners losing everything — even if their unpaid tax bills totaled only hundreds of dollars.

Cheh tells WTOP she will put forward a measure next week that calls for a review of all liens sold from September, 2003 through September, 2013.

According to Cheh, property owners who were foreclosed on through the lien process should potentially be compensated if they owed $2,500 or less in back taxes.

Other measures being circulated in the council include a moratorium on lien sales and an overhaul of management in the Office of Tax and Revenue.

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