Monday, October 17, 2011

Detroit-Area Non-Profit Law Firm Sets Sights On Land Contract/Contract For Deed Rackets Selling Homes With Crappy Title To Unwitting Novice Homebuyers

In Wayne County, Michigan, the Dearborn Press and Guide reports:

  • Wayne County residents, especially life-long renters with no experience of property ownership, need to take proper precautions when purchasing homes on land contracts.


  • [Legal Aid and Defender Association (LAD)] represents victims of what appears to be a major residential property scam in the city and the county. Out-of-state companies appear to be in the business of buying thousands of foreclosed homes for as little as a dollar each, then selling them to residents on land contracts for thousands of dollars without informing purchasers about past-due property taxes, utility bills or other liens on the homes that become the responsibility of the new owners.

  • LAD has filed a lawsuit in Wayne County Circuit Court in such a case claiming damages of more than $25,000 and is preparing to file additional lawsuits on behalf of other purchasers of these land contracts.

  • We want residents to be aware of the problem and take the proper steps to protect themselves," said Michelle L. Johnson, managing attorney of LAD's Detroit/Wayne office. They include title searches to make sure sellers have title to the properties, title insurance, and determining whether there are liens for unpaid taxes and utility bills, she said.

  • LAD is Michigan's largest provider of free civil legal services to low-income residents. It serves metropolitan Detroit through its offices in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties. It also represents criminal defendants in Wayne County and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Including brief consultations and comprehensive legal services, the public law firm handles some 15,000 legal matters yearly.

For the story, see Take proper precautions when purchasing homes on land contracts.

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