A House You Can Buy, But Never Own

African Americans in the same neighborhoods decimated by subprime lending are now being targeted with new predatory loan offerings, a lawsuit argues.

Feature (Georgia)

Alana Semuels
Atlantic, The
April 10, 2018

Tags: Housing: Contract for Deed

Organizations mentioned/involved: Atlanta Legal Aid Society


In a lawsuit filed in a U.S. district court last year, a group of plaintiffs represented by the Atlanta Legal Aid Society alleges that Harbour Portfolio, the group that owns the home where Zachary Anderson lives, specifically targeted African American neighborhoods with its contract-for-deed products. This violates the Fair Housing Act, the lawsuit argues, because it markets a predatory loan product specifically to African Americans.

“Basically, what they were counting on is that people who were not already familiar with the home-buying process would be taken in by the American dream of owning a home,” Kristen Tullos, a lawyer for Atlanta Legal Aid, told me. Harbour moved to dismiss the case, but last month, a judge ruled that most of the plaintiffs’ claims in the case, including their core Fair Housing Act claim, could go forward.