Ground rent owners have been certified for a class action lawsuit from a judge in Anne Arundel County.

This is in reaction to the 2007 ground rent reform laws.

Under the old laws, a ground lease holder could eject a tenant, seize the house, sell it and keep the proceeds if ground rent was not paid. The General Assembly adopted new laws in the spring of 2007 in the wake of a series of articles in The Baltimore Sun that showed that a small group of investors had used the old laws to seize hundreds of houses in Baltimore when pittances in rent went unpaid.

The reform bills abolished the legal process used to seize homes, banned the creation of new ground rents and mandated that ground lease holders register their leases with the state by September or lose them.

The registry issue is a separate suit.

The Baltimore Sun reported on this ruling, and noted that the suit, if won, could cost the state several hundred million dollars.

David Kramer, President and General Counsel for Castle Title, wrote on a history of Baltimore ground rent homes and touched on the Baltimore ground rent reform changes from a few years ago in his recent guest blog post. He will follow up with his thoughts on this ruling soon.