Homeowners in Baltimore can lose their houses for as little as $250 in unpaid taxes — a threshold far lower than in other cities — according to a new Abell Foundation report that urges a change in the practice.

The report calls on Baltimore officials and the Maryland General Assembly to add protections for owner-occupied homes and simplify a city system that often confuses homeowners, enriches investors and adds to the number of vacant properties that line neighborhood streets.

City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke said she’s seen many residents, often elderly, get swept up in tax lien sales, and she wants the city to raise the threshold that triggers a sale to $750 in back taxes.

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