Zoning and Back Taxes in Baltimore City

3 Replies

Hello, I have 3 questions.

Can someone tell me how I can find out what the zoning is for the neighborhood where I am looking to purchase a house in Baltimore city? Also, can you confirm whether or not title insurance checks to make sure there are no back taxes on a property? Also, what happens if the property does have back taxes, some other kind of lien, or other title issue?

Thanks for any insight you can give!

@Tiesha Mobley you can check zoning at


Most contracts say that you get title "free and clear of all liens and encumbrances" this means the seller pays all the back liens and taxes. It is the title companies job to check this out and it will be on the Hud-1 settlement statement. The title insurance is to protect you from mistakes the title company makes.

Zoning can involve area or it can be lot specific. Just write down the address you are looking at and go down to your local building or planning departments and they will tell you what the zoning is. You want to be sure you are buying a legal unit so look for any signs that any modifications, additions etc. have or have not been made then ask your building and planning department again about that particular property mentioning any issue you question such as additions, remodels  or modifications that look suspect to you. When making an offer make it subject to verification of the structure being completely legal and free of any code violations. 

You would be looking to hire a qualified and or licensed house inspection service. Tell them you want them to make sure the house you are considering or in the process of purchasing is completely legal and in good standing with your municipal building and code enforcement departments. Besides the title company ask your local building and planning department how to verify if the property you are looking at is completely free of any liens, usually they are helpful in guiding you. Another thing you will want to address is the possibility of the presence of lead based paint, asbestos, or radon gas, this is another area for questions and answers you will want to have. 

If you have more questions just post them we will try to help you as a community here. 

Thank you @Ned Carey and @Gilbert Dominguez

Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

Lock We hate spam just as much as you

Join the Largest Real Estate Investing Community

Basic membership is free, forever.

By signing up, you indicate that you agree to the BiggerPockets Terms & Conditions.