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D.C. Could Compensate Residents Who Lost Homes Through Tax Lien Sales

The D.C. government is looking into compensating homeowners who lost their properties through the city's tax lien program.

After a Washington Post investigation detailed how elderly residents lost their homes because of small unpaid tax bills that ballooned into much larger fees, the D.C. Council is taking steps to reform the tax lien program.

D.C. Council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) introduced emergency legislation asking the audit office to go back and study the foreclosures caused by tax liens where the amount was $2500 or less.

"And then to look and see whether there are reasons of excusable neglect or our mistake or equitable considerations that would make any of this a candidate for some sort of compensation," she said.

Cheh says she has no idea how much it could cost taxpayers to potentially compensate these homeowners.

In the meantime, the city has halted its tax lien program and cancelled dozens of tax liens sold at an auction two months ago. The Council also approved emergency legislation capping the fees charged to homeowners.

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