Baltimore rowhouses in Federal Hill. Photo by L. Allen Brewer/Flickr Creative Commons.

A group of Maryland nonprofits will hold free legal assistance clinics in Baltimore with one-on-one counseling for families who are behind on their property tax payments and at risk of losing their homes.

Baltimore homeowners who owe $750 or more in property taxes, citations, or both could lose their home to tax sale. The city’s tax sale date is May 15.

Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service is partnering with the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland and Stop Oppressive Seizures to host legal clinics and help families keep their homes.

“Unpaid property taxes often affect the poorest homeowners in the most distressed neighborhoods,” the clinic organizers said in a news release. “Tax sales have a disproportionate effect on Black homeowners and communities of color as well as the elderly.”

Oftentimes the families impacted by tax sales are on fixed incomes and/or living in multigenerational households. The nonprofits said these families often have built generational wealth in the form of their home, and they are at risk of losing that equity to tax sales.

“The property tax system, by taking these properties, continues to strip wealth from Black families and communities – further exacerbating the existing wealth gap and contributing to vacant and abandoned properties all over the state,” the organizers said.

The upcoming tax sale date also comes at a time when emergency rental assistance funds are being phased out, which Maryland housing advocates say could lead to a spike in evictions and homelessness.

Homeowners participating in the clinics will meet one-on-one with an attorney and receive free legal advice about the tax sale process and their options going forward.

Participants can also obtain information about resources like the Homeowners’ Property Tax Credit Program.

Homeowners who need additional assistance and legal representation will be connected with a pro bono attorney through the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service.

The clinics will take place April 3, 15, and 19 at the following locations and times:

  • April 3, 4-7 p.m., University of Maryland, Baltimore’s Community Engagement Center (16 South Poppleton Street, Baltimore, MD 21201)
  • April 15, 12-3 p.m., Collington Square Recreation Center (1410 North Patterson Park Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21213)
  • April 19, 4-7 p.m., C.C. Jackson Recreation Center (4910 Park Heights Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21215)