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Florida residents may be interested in learning about the status of a program in the nation’s capital that was originally designed to allow private investors to buy homeowners’ tax liens. While the D.C. government claims that the program is successful in helping the city recover unpaid taxes, many homeowners are now faced with foreclosure because the amounts being charged by the investors have exceeded the tax debts, in some instances by more than 37 times their original bills.

While some families have managed to pay their debts by taking out loans, others have not been as fortunate. Since 2005, tax lien purchasers have foreclosed on approximately 2000 homes and are pushing to grab 1,200 more, many with back taxes of less than $1,000. Many of these houses have been in families for generations and were owned free and clear.

Many families faced legal battles for several years in order to save their homes. In addition, companies seized more than 40 homes after their representatives had been found breaking laws in other states in order to acquire liens.

The thought of losing a home can be frightening, and Florida residents who are facing foreclosure may feel as if they have no control over their situations. An attorney with a background in bankruptcy and foreclosure matters may be able to help by thoroughly researching the circumstances of the pending foreclosure. Such an attorney may be able to determine whether a bankruptcy filing would be an effective way to stop foreclosure proceedings, and may be able to suggest alternative forms of debt relief that may be appropriate to a client’s particular situation.

Source: Washington Post, “Left With Nothing“, Michael Sallah, Debbie Cenziper, Steven Rich, September 08, 2013