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Between 2005 and 2013, scores of D.C. residents lost their homes because they couldn’t afford to pay small property tax bills. Now, the D.C. government is paying $1 million to settle a class action lawsuit brought by such former homeowners to stop tax-lien investors from taking homes through foreclosure.

AARP Legal Counsel for the Elderly (LCE) worked with the District Council to change D.C. tax collection laws in 2014. Under the old system, investors bought property tax liens and then charged exorbitant fees and interest to the homeowners, many of whom were elderly or disabled and were cash-poor but had equity in their homes. The new law limits attorneys’ fees and does not allow foreclosure if the amount of taxes owed is less than $2,500.

For information about LCE, go to aarp.org/lce.

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