Baltimore City auctioned over 12,000 property liens, this week, in order to recoup about $203 Million in delinquent taxes and other charges against real property owners. If you're not from these parts, pay attention: The lien purchaser pays the amount of accrued and delinquent taxes or water charges to the municipality. In return the purchaser gets a lien certificate, which states an 18% interest rate. The lien purchaser can then file a petition to extinguish the equities of redemption in the real property. When I last checked, the petition could be filed up to two years later. And so, between the time of sale and the filing of a petition, the only evidence of this unrecorded equity is a notation on the City Lien Sheet, if at all. Also, when a petition is filed, it will often list a dozen or more properties and defendants, making traditional title searching difficutl since there is such a great chance of mis-indexing. But once that petition is filed, title is clouded, even if service is not completed.
Beware the City lien process! Check those settlement files for current lien sheets, and double check every case docket!