100 Painters Mill Road Suite 200
Owings Mills Maryland 21117
Residential Title & Escrow Company Commercial Settlement Services, LLC


What You Need to Know About Ground Rent in Baltimore

If you are considering purchasing a home in Baltimore, ground rent is a term you should become familiar with. This practice is unique to Baltimore and can cause huge headaches for homeowners (including the possibility of losing their home) if they don’t know what to expect. Learn all you need to know about ground rent in today’s blog.


When you buy a home in Baltimore, you just might not own the land it stands on thanks to ground rent.

What You Need to Know About Ground Rent in Baltimore

Ground rent is based on a 17th-century concept. It is used to describe the process when a homeowner buys only a physical building and not the land the building rests on. In a ground rent arrangement, homeowners must still pay rent on the land to the land’s owner.

Unfortunately, despite its antiquated roots this practice is still alive and well in Baltimore. For homeowners who don’t know about it, they can possibly lose their homes if they fail to pay the necessary annual fee.

When looking at Baltimore properties, be sure to check whether they are fee simple (meaning that you own both the land and the house outright, as most buyers expect) or ground rent (in which case you must continue to pay the owner a fee for the right to using their land). The fee is usually not very expensive, usually hovering around $100/year. The trouble comes when you fail to pay your ground rent. A process called “ejectment” can be invoked by the landowner which allows them to sue the homeowner for their failure to pay and it is possible that a judge will rule to award the home to the landowner as payment. While this process is fairly uncommon, it is incredibly important to be aware of whether or not you will need to pay ground rent on your property.

If you do fall in love with a property with ground rent, you may request to purchase it. Maryland laws require landowners to sell the rights to homeowners if they are requested to do so. The price is determined by multiplying the yearly ground rent fee by the redemption rate.

Residential Title & Escrow

At Residential Title & Escrow, we bring peace of mind to the settlement table. If you are searching for a title company to help you through the closing process, contact us today! You can also fill out our simple online title request form and one of our knowledgeable representatives will get in touch with you promptly. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ to stay up to date on news, and upcoming events as well as staff and client spotlights!

Tags: ,

Residential Title & Escrow Company
100 Painters Mill Road Suite 200 Owings Mills, Maryland 21117
Phone: 410-653-3400