Predatory lending robs people of home ownership - CBS46 News

Predatory lending robs people of home ownership

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Source: WGCL Source: WGCL

Imagine paying tens of thousands of dollars for a house you thought was yours, only to get evicted for missing a payment.

That is how a "contract for deed" can trick you out of your home.

Gene Bates remembers moving to English Avenue like it was yesterday.

"Just a short time, I've only been over here 43 years. Yeah, I've been in this house 43 years," says Bates.

But these days he only has three words to say when strangers stop by, "Not for sale." That's how often people try to buy his house.

"No it's not for sale and I tell them that when they come and  don't have a for sale sign up so they can stop coming."

And that's good advice for anybody living in Atlanta's changing neighborhoods because now that property values are surging, so is the hustle and predatory lending.

"You lose everything all investments that you made all the improvements."

It looks like a mortgage, it reads like a mortgage but this is no mortgage. It's a contract for deed where you pay for a house and have nothing to show for it.

"You're paying on this contract for deed over a period of 30 years but unlike traditional mortgage you want to sell your home, you don't have the authority to sell your home because you're not the legal owner," says Darrius Woods. 

Predatory lending is so much a part of the landscape Atlanta Legal Aid created a home defense program so owners and buyers don't get robbed at the point of a pen.

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