Eminent Domain Update

The City's Department of Housing and Community Development is opposed to this resolution.  In a letter to Council members, DHCD Commissioner Graziano says "HCD is concerned that this program is not good policy for the current Baltimore Housing situation.  The Housing market in Baltimore is showing signs of sustained improvement and the risk of implementing a similar program may outweigh the benefits."

For a copy of the letter, click here

Using Eminent Domain to seize underwater mortgages in order to refinance

The Baltimore City Council has introduced a resolution calling for the City to consider using the power of eminent domain to seize underwater mortgages in order to refinance at market rate using a Local Principal Reduction Program.

HBAM strongly opposes this and is working with local coalition partners to fight the resolution. The following coalition members have sent a letter to City Council, have begun meeting with council members, and have prepared talking points on this issue.

  • Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors
  • Home Builders Association of Maryland
  • Maryland Association of Realtors
  • Maryland Bankers Association
  • Maryland/DC Credit Union Association
  • Maryland Land Title Association
  • Maryland Mortgage Bankers Association, Inc.
  • Mid- Atlantic Financial Services Association
  • Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association

Click here to read the coalition's letter and talking points

Background:

The City of Richmond, CA, is the only jurisdiction that has passed an ordinance to use eminent domain in this way.   Their action has resulted in legal action from investors which hold mortgage backed securities as well as a very negative reaction from the bond markets whereby the City had no bidders on its recent bond offering. The General Counsel for the Federal Housing Finance Agency – the  regulator of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks -  issued a very strong letter explaining the serious consequences of such authority and action. 

The National Association of Home Builders and several other industry partners recently sent a letter to the U.S. Congress expressing opposition to this policy. 

Baltimore City Resolution 13-0135R calls for 1) supporting the City of Richmond in its efforts to save homes and neighborhoods through the use of a Local Principal Reduction program and 2) and calling for Baltimore to explore the use of a similar program.

HBAM needs you to call and email your City Council member and tell them to oppose this resolution.

Click here for a list of Council members and their contact information

Related News Articles:

Some call on city to explore eminent domain to combat blight - Baltimore Sun

Richmond pushes forward with eminent domain plan

Newark Advances Eminent Domain Plan to Slow Foreclosures

New way to stop foreclosures still only a threat

Federal Housing Agency Sued in Battle Over Eminent-Domain Bailouts

Fearing Wall Street Reprisals, Oakland Council Abandons Anti-Foreclosure Plans

Eminent domain to fight foreclosures is divisive

More Cities Consider Using Eminent Domain to Halt Foreclosures

City's Fix for Mortgage Crisis: Seizing Home Loans by Eminent Domain