LDF recently sent a letter to local officials in Cuyahoga County, Ohio urging them to implement a temporary moratorium on tax lien sales until after an investigation can be done and reforms made to the system. Recently, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported on our efforts: 

“The NAACP Legal Defense Fund has called for Cuyahoga County to stop bundling and auctioning off its property tax liens to outside debt collection firms. 

In a March 3 letter to county officials, two attorneys for the New York-based organization, an offshoot of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said the practice of selling tax liens “unfairly” deprives people of their property and often has a disproportionate impact on black communities…

The letter (scroll down to read it) calls for a moratorium on tax lien sales until Cuyahoga County Inspector General Nailah Byrd completes her investigation into Woods Cove II, and until “meaningful reforms are made” to increase screening of potential buyers and general government oversight. Woods Cove II is a past buyer of Cuyahoga County tax liens; county officials last September sold about $15 million in tax liens to a related company called Woods Cove III.”

Our letter details a lengthy investigation by the Washington Post into the tax lien sales practices around the country which often unfairly deprive residents of their property and disproportionately impact communities of color. Tax lien sales have had a particularly devastating impact on black communities in Cuyahoga County. Owning a home has long been the bedrock of the “American Dream” — it’s an asset that provides long-term financial security and, for many families, serves as a primary source of intergenerational wealth and wealth-creation. 

Click here to read more about NAACP LDF’s work on Tax Lien sales. 

Click here to read our letter.