Articles by Yosef Chaim Salazar,

Current Status of Ground Rents

Ground Rents – that quintessential Baltimore legal institution – have undergone tremendous change in the past decade. Although commonly described as the situation where an owner owns only the improvements on the property, while someone else (the Ground Rent owner) owns the land, it is, according to legal theory, more aptly defined as a “reversionary interest.” This means that the Ground Rent owner has the right to take back the property (both land and improvements) if the Ground Rent is not paid.

Ground Rents were very attractive to the developers who built-up northwest Baltimore City in the 1950s and 60s. By creating a Ground Rent simultaneously with the sale of the newly-built houses, the developers were able to retain a stream of income from these properties even after selling them, thus making Ground Rents particularly prevalent in our area.

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