Tag Archives: predatory lending

Washington Post’s Homes for the Taking Three Point Series Part 1 – Left With Nothing

The Washington Post has published a three part series in the paper titled, “Homes for the Taking.”  The series is essential reading for urban planners, community development practitioners, and people interested in urban real estate issues.  In Part One, “Left With Nothing,” the authors chronicle Bennie Coleman, a senior with dementia, who lost his home over a missed $134 property tax bill.  Washington, DC sells delinquent tax bills to private companies that then take over charging interest and foreclosure proceedings.  Mr. Coleman’s $134 debt ballooned to $4,999 in the hands of the private lender, who foreclosed on him and then sold the house for $71,000 months later.  Many of these companies charge unreasonable interest and fees and push people out of homes.  Policy makers need to be sure that their tax collection systems don’t cause more harm than good just to make up a small amount of unpaid taxes.