Predatory land contracts increasing

DEAR EDITOR:

In the aftermath of the foreclosure crisis, another troubling housing issue has become increasingly damaging to our community and its residents.

Predatory land contracts, or contract-for-deed housing arrangements that take advantage of reduced access to conventional financing, have a negative impact on the communities of Mahoning Valley. Conventional mortgages have become harder to obtain for home buyers, and while the seller financing option is not inherently bad, there is no shortage of predatory lenders looking to take advantage of being many buyers’ only perceived option. It is buyer beware; however, some companies have become fluent in contracts that leave buyers short of their homeownership goals and out of money.

Over the last decade, our local market has been flooded with vacant houses, many in poor condition with rotted wood, black mold, non-working electrical or plumbing systems. Many schemes will call for a moderate down payment but task the buyer with performing all repairs and involve an installment plan of a monthly fee with extremely high interest rates. Many call for termination of the contract entirely if the buyer is late with one payment, regardless of the work put in.

Many more banana peels lay in wait for home buyers in the devilish details of these shady contracts, but a statewide push to regulate the terms of such deals is underway.

If you or someone you know is stuck in a bad land contract, contact Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership for further assistance at 330-599-9275.

MATT MARTIN

Executive Director Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership

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