Washington, D.C.’s lien laws allow investors to pay off residential property tax debt and then foreclose on a home, sometimes charging insurmountable legal fees that preclude a homeowner from fighting in court. One homeowner, according to The Washington Post, lost his home over a $134 debt. After an investor bought his lien and began the foreclosure process, legal fees increased the homeowner’s debt to $4,999. Eventually, the investor won the foreclosure and sold the home for $71,000.
D.C. no longer allows investors to buy liens worth less than $1,000.