Target: United States Congress
Goal: Reform laws allowing private, out-of-state investors to profit off of home foreclosures in Washington D.C.
Officials in Washington D.C. are allowing out-of-town investors to begin foreclosure proceedings against homeowners who have fallen behind on their property taxes. In many cases, these homeowners have only fallen behind by a hundred dollars or less. One report states that “well-financed, out of town companies” are turning “five hundred dollar delinquencies into five hundred dollar debts.
Currently, D.C. law allows private companies to take over liens–tax security measures–on properties with owners whom have failed to meet their mortgage payments. These companies then double and triple the interest rate on the homeowner’s delinquent payments in order to turn a profit. Another report suggests that these wealthy investors “have demanded foreclosures on nearly 200 houses since 2005…and are now moving to take 1,200 more, despite the fact that some of the homes have been in families for generations.” There is something sick in American society when homeowners owe thousands of dollars to companies they’ve never seen for delinquencies on mortgage payments for as little as, in one case, eight dollars and sixty one cents. Tell Congress that something is rotten in the District of Columbia. These unethical laws need to be reformed. Homeowners on the brink of foreclosure and homelessness should be viewed as more than good investment opportunities for predatory investors.
Dear United States Congressional Members,
Predatory debt collection schemes are ruining the finances and lives of homeowners in the District of Columbia. You have the power to reform laws allowing out of town investors to turn five hundred dollar mortgage delinquencies into five thousand dollar debts. Tax sale laws should not exist merely to privilege companies at the expense of people. Many defenders of the tax sale law in Washington D.C. claim that without these predatory practices, homeowners would not feel compelled to pay their dues. This logic is absurd. If a seventy-six year old man has an overdue amount of property taxes amounting to less than two hundred dollars, does it not make more sense to work out a structured payment plan with him than it does to sell his debt to an out of state investor for a profit? If someone cannot make a hundred dollar payment, how is it reasonable to assume that they will better be able to make a thousand dollar payment?
There are, no doubt, tax evaders who choose to disobey the law and hoard money meant to pay their property taxes. These people should be brought to court and forced to pay their dues. However, in our current era of recession and austerity, more and more citizens are struggling to pay for basic necessities such as food, healthcare, clothing, and utilities. It seems cruel to allow wealthy out of state investors to profit from their struggles. Tax sale law in the District of Columbia needs to be reformed. Show Americans that our federal government stands with citizens rather than with corporations.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Jeff Turner via Flickr