Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Group to Study Predatory Lending Practices in Local Communities

Dr. Peter Ward of the LBJ School of Public Affairs has made it his life's work to study the Texas colonias. He is launching into a new research project with LBJ School and UT Law students to study the predatory lending practice known as "contract for deed" that is prolific among the colonias, on the border. Because many colonia residents don't qualify for bank loans, landowners enter into an informal contract whereby the resident pays cash for property. In most cases, the property stays in the possession of the landowner until the balance is paid in full. In the past, many colonia residents have found themselves evicted with no evidence that they ever paid anything for their property. Legislation was passed in 1995 to help protect people who enter in contract for deed arrangements but predatory practices and other problems remain.

Since contracts for deed are often not recorded with the county clerks office, there is no way to know how many colonia residents in the Central Texas area and in border counties have entered into these kinds of financial arrangements. Dr. Ward and his team of students will research contract for deed practices in seven border counties (Cameron, El Paso, Hidalgo, Maverick, Starr, Val Verde and Webb) and five Central Texas counties, which house approximately 500,000 Texans, to determine how many people are using contract for deeds to finance their homes. This research project is being performed on the behalf of the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.

Dr. Ward is available for interview about this project and the colonias in general and can talk specifically about the colonias located in the Central Texas area. Below is a link to a press release with more information, including information about the Law School's part in the project.


No comments:

Post a Comment