For many years public policy makers and advocates have pushed the idea of homeownership as the "American Dream." Numerous resources have been devoted at the federal, state, and local level to helping individuals become homeowners. Unfortunately, not nearly as much effort and energy has been devoted to helping people maintain homeownership. In fact, the attitude has been much the opposite -- many feel that if someone loses their home, it must be their own fault. In many states, foreclosure laws are designed to make it quick, easy and relatively inexpensive for a lender to sell a person's home, while making it difficult and costly for a homeowner to challenge a foreclosure proceeding.
This report finds that predatory mortgage loan practices continue to be a problem for homeowners in Maryland and that subprime loans account for a disproportionate share of the foreclosures in the state. We conclude that Maryland's anti-predatory lending law, enacted in 2002, is one of the weaker state laws passed in the wake of widespread lending abuses in the 1990s. We found that Maryland's foreclosure law does not provide homeowners with adequate notice or other protections needed to prevent the unnecessary loss of their homes. We also found that there is little help for homeowners facing foreclosure, even those who are unable to pay their mortgage through no fault of their own. (author summary)