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Housing and Foreclosure: FAQ

If you have tried to resolve a problem with your landlord or mortgage lender without reaching a solution, Congressman Ruppersberger’s office may be able to help. Please review the following Frequently Asked Questions before contacting the office, as they may contain the information you need. You can access information on homeownership, avoiding foreclosure, rental assistance and more at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s Maryland portal.

For general questions about HUD, contact the Baltimore office on the fifth floor of the City Crescent Building, 10 S. Howard Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. You can also reach them by phone at 410-962-2520.

How do I resolve a dispute with my landlord?

The Maryland Attorney General’s Consumer Protection division has a mediation unit that can help you try to resolve a dispute with your landlord. You can file a complaint online at their website or reach them at 410-528-8662.

The Legal Aid Bureau is a private, nonprofit firm that offers free legal services for residents seeking assistance in resolving a landlord-tenant dispute. Click here to find your closest office location and contact information.

Where can I find an affordable rental unit?

You can use the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s online search tool to find a low-rent apartment in Maryland.

Can I live in a public housing community?

The Public Housing program was created to assist lower income families in obtaining a safe place to live at a rent they can afford. Eligible applicants are leased within various public housing developments that are primarily HUD-financed and owned by the Housing Authority.  Eligible low-income tenants pay about 30 percent of their gross adjusted income for rent.  The rental assistance is attached to the unit so tenants cannot “take” the assistance with them if they move.  Section 8 vouchers are not accepted.

In Congressman Ruppersberger’s district, public housing communities are located only in Baltimore City, Anne Arundel County and Howard County. Due to long waitlists, Baltimore City is no longer taking applications for public housing. Public housing communities are not offered in Baltimore or Harford Counties.

To apply for Public Housing in Howard County, contact the Howard County Housing Commission.

6751 Columbia Gateway Drive
Columbia MD 21046
Phone: (410)313-6320
Fax: (410)313-6092

To apply for Public Housing in Anne Arundel County, contact the Housing Commission of Anne Arundel County.

7477 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd.
Glen Burnie, MD 21060
Phone: (410)222-6200
Fax: (410)222-6214

Can I be moved up on the public housing wait list?

Unfortunately, Congressman Ruppersberger’s office is unable to expedite wait times.

What is a Section 8 housing voucher?

Formerly known as Section 8, the Housing Choice Voucher Program is the federal government’s major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. Participants that are issued a voucher are responsible for finding a suitable housing unit of their choice where the owner agrees to rent under the program. This unit may include the participant’s present residence.

A housing subsidy is paid to the landlord directly by the local Public Housing agency on behalf of the participating family. The family then pays the difference between the actual rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the program. Under certain circumstances, a family may use its voucher to purchase a modest home.

How do I apply for a Section 8 housing voucher?

Vouchers are administered locally by Public Housing agencies. Here is a listing of local agencies:

Baltimore City
Baltimore County
Anne Arundel County
Harford County 
Howard County

Where can I find information on FHA loans or programs?

Many questions about FHA loans and programs can be answered online at the FHA Resource Center.

How can I avoid foreclosure?

The Making Home Affordable (MHA) program is the government initiative that helps struggling homeowners get mortgage relief through a variety of programs that aid in mortgage modifications, interest rate reductions, refinancing, deferred payment or transitioning out of your home while avoiding foreclosure. More than 100 mortgage companies have agreed to participate in the MHA program and all mortgage companies with loans owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are required to participate, though not all homeowners will be eligible.

Programs are available to help lower your monthly payment, lower your interest rate, if you are unemployed, if you have a second mortgage or if your home’s value has fallen below what you owe. There are also programs for veterans and those who are forced to leave their home and avoid foreclosure. Click here to explore all of the MHA programs to see which one is right for you.

Click here for a list of all participating mortgage companies and the contact information for submitting an application.

I am not behind on my mortgage payments but I can’t get traditional refinancing.

If you are not behind on your mortgage payments but have been unable to get traditional refinancing because the value of your home has declined, you may be eligible to refinance through MHA’s Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). HARP refinance loans require a loan application and underwriting process, and refinance fees will apply.

Click here for eligibility requirements and more information.

Where can I find a reliable home foreclosure counselor?

Click here for a list of all HUD-approved housing counseling agencies in Maryland.

I think I am a victim of mortgage fraud.

The federal government’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) offers a toll free number you can call for mortgage-related complaints to make sure you’re getting a fair deal on your mortgage, and hold banks and brokers accountable if you’re not.

The CFPB will send each consumer complaint to the right financial institution for review and resolution. If the institution does not resolve the issue, then CFPB can directly investigate your issue and make sure that these financial institutions are held accountable for following federal law.
Call the hotline at 855-411-2372. You can also submit your complaints online on their website.

Still have questions? Contact our office!

If you would like Congressman Ruppersberger’s office to help you with a housing or home-retention matter, please contact our district office at 410-628-2701. You will need to submit a Privacy Act Release form, which you can generate here. The Privacy Act of 1974 prohibits any department or agency of the federal government from releasing any personal information about a person without their written permission. This form will enable me to initiate an inquiry on your behalf. For quicker processing, fax your completed form to 410-628-2708. You can also mail your form or submit it in person to 375 West Padonia Road, Suite 200, Timonium, MD, 21093.