2015 Foreclosure Statistics

MD DHCD Foreclosure Map
MD DHCD Foreclosure Map

Maryland continues to be one of five states with the highest bank foreclosure rates — 95% over the national average, with 11,990 foreclosures in Q1 and 12,089 in Q2. Baltimore City and Prince George’s County also continue to see the highest rates in the state. Baltimore City saw a 12.6% increase in the second quarter, and a 17.2% increase over the same time last year, with a total of 2,132 foreclosures in Q2. Baltimore City also had the second-highest number of default notices, at 918, a 25.3% increase over Q2 2014.

Foreclosure Sales

For foreclosure sales, Baltimore City had the second-highest number of sales, at 660 notices, and the largest number of lender purchases, at 735. This number of lender purchases is an 87% increase over last quarter, and a 38.1% increase over Q2 2014.

Foreclosure Hotspots

Four Baltimore City zip codes (21213, 21223, 21217, and 21201) are in what are considered “severe” foreclosure hotspots. The hardest-hit zip code in the state is located in Baltimore City — 21223, with a total of 133 foreclosures. This figure is 272.9% above the state average.

Nine Baltimore City zip codes (21215, 21206, 21229, 21218, 21214, 21205, 21207, 21225, 21202, and 21226) are in “very high” foreclosure hotspots.

Nine Baltimore City zip codes (21216, 21230, 21222, 21239, 21231, 21224, 21211, 21234, and 21212) are in “high” foreclosure hotspots.

Source: Maryland DHCD

Free Legal Clinic: Pro Boo-no Day!

pro_boo_no_dayPro Boo-no Day

9:00 AM to noon, Saturday October 31
Maryland Legal Aid, 500 E Lexington Street.

Attorneys from Maryland Legal Aid, Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service, and the Pro Bono Resource Center will be on hand to provide brief consultations on a variety of topics:

  • Landlord-tenant
  • Foreclosure
  • Child Custody
  • Bankruptcy
  • …and more!

Don’t let your legal woes, or trouble with your landlord frighten you — register today for this event!

City Council Bill 12-0152 Transform Baltimore: SUPPORT

Baltimore City Hall
Baltimore City Hall

The City Council’s Land Use and Transportation Committee is reviewing and voting on the close to 1,000 amendments to Transform Baltimore, the new zoning code, which can be found here. After reviewing and voting on the text amendments, they will begin voting on the map amendments.

Public hearings have been announced for the Land Use and Transportation Committee to discuss map amendments for City Council Bill 12-0152.  The hearings, times and locations are as follows:

October 8, 2015 6:00 pm, Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, 1400 W. Cold Spring Lane

October 13, 2015 6:00 pm, Morgan State University, Murphy Fine Arts Center (Recital Hall), 2201 Argonne Drive

October 15, 2015 6:00 pm, Digital Harbor High School, 1100 Covington Street

October 21, 2015 6:00 pm, Southeast Anchor Library, 3601 Eastern Avenue

The Zoning maps to be discussed with relevant Planning Commission recommended amendments are here: http://rewritebaltimore.org/pdf/AllCouncilMaps_Amendments1023.pdf

Also, zoning changes can be searched by address here http://cityview.baltimorecity.gov/rezoningpubliccomments/.

What You Can Do Now:

Email the members of the Land Use and Transportation Committee, and ask that they support the new zoning code. Baltimore City needs better zoning in our neighborhoods — not just downtown and at the harbor. The one piece of the zoning code that has the most power to transform our communities is the new Neighborhood Commercial code. (Link opens a PDF). Putting vacant properties back into reuse can not only alleviate much of the blight in our communities, it can also create jobs and help to jumpstart lackluster neighborhood economies.

If you have any questions regarding Transform Baltimore, please contact the comprehensive planner for your neighborhood.

Why Policy Matters

Photo of the US CapitolPublic Policy. It shapes everything we do and dictates what we shouldn’t do. Sometimes it acts in place of common sense, which I find both troubling and puzzling. It can make us stronger, but it can also destroy us. But what is it, really, and how do we go about striking a balance between what is just and good, and what is guided by self-interest and greed?

In the context of housing, particularly in a city like Baltimore, you’d have to travel back in time about 50 years to see where things went awry. I’ll spare you the history lesson, because much has been written on the subject of discriminatory housing laws in Baltimore — the who, what, when, and how. If you’d like to do some reading on your own, please consider purchasing “Not in My Neighborhood: How Bigotry Shaped a Great American City” by Antero Pietila. I have no less than three copies of this book, and I consider it to be the gold standard when it comes to the history of housing in Baltimore City. If you do read it, pay close attention to the names in the book — you’ll find that the names will sound very familiar to you if you live here. And I don’t mean that in a positive way.

In 1968, the US government passed the Fair Housing Act, the first piece of Federal legislation that prohibited discrimination in housing, for both renters and homeowners. It came about as a larger civil rights effort to grant equality in all areas. However, like most laws, some followed it…and some didn’t. And still don’t. This is where policy work is important — not just the enforcement piece, but to ensure that people understand they have rights and how to go about exercising those rights when things go wrong. I’ll give you an example of modern-day discrimination:

I moved to Baltimore in 2000, knowing very little about the city beyond the Inner Harbor. I solicited the services of a realtor to find a home to rent. I found listings online that I would send to her periodically, including a large Victorian home on Liberty Heights Avenue. She flat-out refused to show me most of the homes I requested to see and said “Oh you don’t want to live in that neighborhood.” Considering the fact that she was a white lady of (shall we say) a certain age, I chalked it up to her being a racist…so I fired her.

My next realtor was a young African-American woman, thinking that she would be a little hipper and perhaps open-minded, I again sent her links to homes I wanted to see, and made it quite clear that I was firmly resolved to living in the city, not in the suburbs. And not in a majority-white neighborhood, either. I wanted to actually live in the city, not in some weird faux-suburban bubble. Turns out she did the same thing the first realtor did. She steered me away (pay attention to the word “steered”) from all the homes I wanted to see, and instead took me to see a home behind the Walmart on Route 40 in Catonsville.  I fired her, too, right after that.

“But Carol, you should thank these women. They might have saved you from living in a bad neighborhood.”

Actually, what they did was break the law. They engaged in something called “steering”. And it’s one of the most common ways realtors and other real estate professionals sometimes employ discriminatory practices, in direct violation of the Fair Housing Act of 1968. Add that to the recent incidences of redlining (the practice of not lending money to potential homeowners based on race, gender, etc.) — we still, even in 2015, have a large number of people who are unable to move to better opportunities and create stable lives for themselves and their families. Even worse, add in the incidents of blockbusting that began the decline of many of Baltimore’s communities 50 years ago — communities that are now the city’s most blighted and crime-ridden, as a direct result. Blockbusting, like steering and redlining, continues even now.

The recent mortgage meltdown opened up yet another Pandora’s box: a rental bubble. With so many foreclosed homes, investors saw an opportune time to enact another get-rich-at-the-expense-of-others scheme. People who lost their homes to foreclosure need rentals. The foreclosed homes were selling cheaply, and why not snap them all up for a song and rent them at a price higher than what the local economy can bear? While not illegal, there has been a negative consequence — an unsustainable market that continues to drive away median-income renters who can no longer afford to live in Baltimore. People who earn the median are also generally the largest taxpaying group of residents — in other words, they’re the folks who pay for things like the fire department and trash collection, along with other city services. A city cannot survive over the long-term without a large middle-class taxpaying population — and Baltimore’s is dwindling.

Changing public policy, along with the enforcement of current laws, is critical to the health of our city. Without that component, all of the hard work we do is for naught. We must protect the rights of residents to live where they choose, and not where mortgage brokers and realtors choose. We also must protect the city’s tax base by providing affordable rental housing to those who need it. We must change housing policy to benefit residents first, not politicians and multi-million dollar developers. We must make this a priority. Because even in the most abstract sense, policy matters. Policy is what we need to grow and become a healthier, safer city for all residents, not just those at the top of the income scale.

Baltimore County Residents: Support County Bill 58-15

Baltimore County, Maryland sealSponsored By: Councilman David Marks, District 5

Bill Information: This bill would impose a penalty on property owners who have repeatedly allowed their tenants to hold unruly social gatherings on their premises, particularly those that involve underage drinking. Previously the law applied to homeowners, but would now include landlords and property management companies. You can download the full text of 58-15 here.

Why This Bill is Important: In 2013 alone, underage drinking cost Maryland residents approximately $1.6 billion (link opens a PDF) in lost wages, medical costs, property damage, EMS services, etc. Parents and homeowners are already held to the law regarding underage drinking and social gatherings — landlords and property management companies should be held to the same standard when it comes to what their tenants are inflicting on the surrounding neighbors, and no longer be allowed to maintain a “hands-off” position.

What You Can Do Now: Contact your County councilperson now, and ask them to support this bill. The bill will come to a vote on Tuesday, September 8th — please gather support now!

South Baltimore Gateway Master Plan Meeting

This is the last meeting scheduled before the plan will be adopted by the Baltimore City Planning Department. Please add this to your calendar, if you live/work in or near South Baltimore, and make sure your comments are heard.

When:  Wednesday, September 9, 2015, 6:30 PM (You have to register prior to the meeting, and registration starts at 6 PM)

Where: Montgomery Park, 1800 Washington Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21230. Montgomery Park is located at the corner of Washington Boulevard and S. Monroe Street, directly across Monroe Street from Carroll Park. Free parking is available at Montgomery Park.

For more information, or if you have any questions, please call Brenton Flickinger, Southern District Planner at 410-386-5936.

Renters Tax Credit Deadline: September 1

If you area renter and are low-income, a senior citizen, or disabled, you may qualify for a $750 credit on your Maryland income taxes. Go here for more information and to see income guidelines. You can also download the form for 2015 here. (Link opens a PDF.)

The deadline for filing is September 1 — if you’re eligible, don’t wait!

South Baltimore Gateway Plan: Open for Public Comments

For those who live and/or work in South Baltimore, this is a great opportunity to speak your mind regarding the South Baltimore Gateway Plan. The casino has consistently fallen short of meeting its revenue goals, and funds have been diverted to infrastructure improvements that were beneficial to the casino, and not necessarily to residents who live nearby.

The city has asked for your feedback on its draft South Baltimore Gateway Master Plan, a vision for redeveloping the neighborhoods from Pigtown to Cherry Hill, using money from Horseshoe Casino revenue.

You can visit the website to review the draft plan and submit comments during a 30-day public comment period that started Aug. 17. The Baltimore City Department of Planning developed the plan in conjunction with consultants, and based on input gathered from the community during eight public meetings.

Neighborhoods affected include: Key Highway Waterfront, Locust Point, Sharp-Leadenhall, Port Covington and Westport.

(As of this posting, none of the maps would load correctly, and all of the master plan links resulted in a server error. Hopefully this can be resolved before the public comment period closes.)

Monthly Updates

Some highlights from May, June, and July:


  • Researched ten properties and suggested some for receivership, reported code violations on others. Worked with three residents to get some of these maintained, to not cause further damage to occupied homes.
  • Wrote nine blog posts.
  • Held the SW Baltimore Industrial Properties Tour, along with Baltimore Heritage and the city’s Planning Department. Forty people attended, and it was a fantastic day!
  • Began investigation of a complaint filed against Fannie Mae (link opens a PDF), alleging “Discrimination in maintaining and/or marketing its real estate owned (“REO”) properties and perpetuation of segregation.”


  • Researched eight properties, some of which were causing damage to occupied homes, others seemed to be good candidates for receivership and/or citations for various code violations.
  • Wrote nine blog posts.
  • Continued investigation of Fannie Mae complaint, including a formal FOIA request to HUD for the addresses of allegedly neglected properties.


  • Researched ten properties, three occupied properties where the landlord was not maintaining the homes.
  • Wrote nine blog posts.
  • Worked on middle-income housing plan, meeting with developers and other interested parties, to fine tune issues like funding, tax incentives, etc.

Part of August is going to be spent researching public policy issues, in order to create a legislative agenda for 2016.

Mortgage Fraud Scammer Pleads Guilty in Federal Court

Alberic Okou Agodio of Bethesda pleaded guilty on July 21 in Federal Court to several charges arising out of a $3.8 million mortgage fraud scheme involving dozens of Baltimore City homes. Almost all of the homes were located in poor neighborhoods that already struggle with blight and decay. He will be sentenced in October, and is facing a maximum of 30 years in prison, with additional time for identity theft.

His co-conspirator, Kevin Cambpell, plead guilty earlier, and will be sentenced on September 11.

You can read more about Agodio’s plea agreement here.