Category Archives: housing

New Article: “Discrimination in Evictions: Empirical Evidence and Legal Challenges”

New Article: Deena Greenberg, Carl Gershenson & Matthew Desmond, Discrimination in Evictions: Empirical Evidence and Legal Challenges, 116 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 115 (2016).  Abstract below:

Tens of thousands of housing discrimination complaints are filed each year. Although there has been extensive study of discrimination in the rental market, discrimination in evictions has been largely overlooked. This is because determining whether discrimination exists in evictions presents several challenges. Not only do landlords typically have a non-discriminatory reason for evictions (e.g., nonpayment), but they also wield tremendous discretion over eviction decisions—discretion that can be informed by conscious or unconscious bias against a protected group. Detecting discrimination in evictions, moreover, poses a number of challenges that conventional methods of assessing housing discrimination are ill-suited to address. This Article is among the first to empirically investigate racial and ethnic discrimination in eviction decisions. It does so by drawing on the Milwaukee Area Renters Study, a novel observational study of 1,086 rental households. Statistical analyses reveal that among tenants at risk of eviction, Hispanic tenants in predominantly white neighborhoods were roughly twice as likely to be evicted as those in predominantly non-white neighborhoods. Hispanic tenants were also more likely to get evicted when they had a non-Hispanic landlord. This Article discusses possible explanations for these findings and evaluates legal and policy solutions for addressing discrimination in the eviction process.

New Article: “Residual Value Capture in Subsidized Housing”

New Article: Brandon M. Weiss, Residual Value Capture in Subsidized Housing, 10 Harv. L. & Pol’y Rev. 521 (2016).  Abstract below:

This Article argues that our primary federal subsidized housing production program, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), will result in the unnecessary forfeit of billions of dollars of government investment and the potential displacement of tens of thousands of households beginning in 2020 when LIHTC property use restrictions start to expire. The LIHTC example is presented as a case study of an inherent dynamic of public-private partnerships—namely, the potential capture by for-profit providers of “residual value.” For purposes of this Article, this is value generated by a public-private transaction that is unnecessary to incentivize a private provider to deliver the contracted for good or service.

Drawing on corporate organizational theory, which has highlighted the role that nonprofits play in solving certain contract failures and generating positive externalities, the Article argues that, in certain contexts, partnering with nonprofit providers can be an effective approach to increasing the share of residual value that flows to public purposes. The LIHTC program is one such context, given that a nonprofit preference results in a three-sector approach whereby the federal government provides tax credits to nonprofit developers that must attract private investor equity. This framework leverages institutional strengths, including the access to capital of government, the relative fidelity to public purposes of nonprofits, and the market-based underwriting and oversight of for-profit investors.

News Coverage: “ How Banks Stole Homes From the Most Vulnerable New Yorkers”

News Coverage: Michelle Chen, How Banks Stole Homes From the Most Vulnerable New Yorkers, The Nation, July 15, 2016.

New Article: “Structural Subjugation: Theorizing Racialized Sexual Harassment in Housing”

New Article: Kate Sablosky Elengold, Structural Subjugation: Theorizing Racialized Sexual Harassment in Housing, 27 Yale J. L. & Feminism 227 (2016).  Abstract below:

This Article identifies and analyzes the structural forces that permit and ignore racialized sexual harassment in housing. Although scholarship on sexual harassment in housing is sparse, the existing research and resulting body of law generally advances a narrative focused on the female tenants’ economic vulnerability and violation of the sanctity of her home. The narrative advanced in scholarship and advocacy, along with the resulting jurisprudence, presents an archetype of a deviant male landlord abusing his authority to take advantage of women sexually who, because of their economic circumstances, have no alternatives. This Article terms it the “dirty old man” narrative. Drawing attention to the racialized sexual harassment that lies beneath the stock story for many African American female tenants, this Article dismantles that narrative. The purpose of the scholarship is two-fold. The first is to expose, for the first time, the undercurrent of racialized sexual victimization that is absent from the “dirty old man” narrative. To do that, this project methodically examines court filings in sexual harassment cases brought by the Attorney General under the federal Fair Housing Act and analyzes the entire body of federal and state court opinions assessing residential sexual harassment claims. The second objective is to identify the structural factors — cultural acceptance of the “Black Jezebel” myth, legal rights, access, and generational economic and racial hierarchies — that operate together to perpetuate racialized sexual harassment in rental housing, an analysis that draws on social science research, along with critical race, critical feminist, and intersectionality theories. This Article contends that those structural forces are the same factors that have operated to permit and hide the sexual subjugation of Black women in the private sphere throughout history — during slavery, as domestic workers, and in the present-day failure to prosecute sexual assault against Black women. Ultimately, it argues that the prevailing “dirty old man” narrative risks silencing both the individual stories of racialized sexual harassment at home and the larger conversation about the structural forces permitting and ignoring the abuse.

Call-for-Papers: Housing Affordability (and, for property folks, Works-in-Progress session)

AALS Property Law Section Call For Papers.  January 2017 — AALS Conference in San Francisco, CA

The AALS Property Law Section has two panels at the AALS Conference this year. If you would like to participate in either of these panels, please email a title and abstract of your proposed presentation to Ezra Rosser, erosser@wcl.american.edu, by June 1, 2016. The Property Section’s Executive Committee will select participants from the proposals received by that date.

(1) “Property and the Challenge of Housing Affordability” — Co‐Sponsored by State and Local Government Law, and Poverty Law Sections. 1:30-3:15 pm, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017.

The main property law panel this year focuses on housing affordability, a topic that is appropriate for a conference being held in San Francisco. Two speakers will be chosen from this call-for-papers and they will join invited panelists Courtney Anderson (Georgia State), Steve Eagle (George Mason), Lisa Alexander (Texas A&M), and moderator Eduardo Peñalver (Cornell). Fordham Urban Law Journal has agreed to publish articles coming out of this panel and has asked that authors submit drafts to them by August 1, 2016, making this call ideally suited for those who already anticipate working on a housing affordability topic this summer. If you have any questions about this panel or the associated publication opportunity, please email erosser@wcl.american.edu.

(2) “Property Law Works in Progress” — 3:30-4:45 pm, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017.

This year, the AALS Property Law Section is organizing a works-in-progress session for junior (pre-tenure) scholars. This is meant to be an opportunity to present and get feedback on works that will not be published as of Jan. 2017 and that are still at a stage in which feedback could be valuable. In addition to having the opportunity to share work through the panel, selected presenters will be matched with a senior scholar who will provide written comments. There is no limitation as far as topic area for this panel and we look forward to receiving your proposal.

 

 

News Coverage: “Why a housing scheme founded in racism is making a resurgence today”

News Coverage: Emily Badger, “Why a housing scheme founded in racism is making a resurgence today,” Wash. Post, May 13, 2016.

New Article: “Post-Disaster Housing Through the Lens of Litigation: The Katrina Housing Justice Docket”

New Article: Davida Finger, Post-Disaster Housing Through the Lens of Litigation: The Katrina Housing Justice Docket, 61 Loyola L. Rev. 591 (2015).

Op-Ed: “Lawyers: Bulwark against Inequality and Gentrification?”

Op-Ed: Ray Brescia, Lawyers: Bulwark against Inequality and Gentrification?, HuffPost Impact Blog, 4/11/206.

News Coverage: “Can Neighborhoods Be Revitalized Without Gentrifying Them?”

News Coverage: “Can Neighborhoods Be Revitalized Without Gentrifying Them?

New Report: “Justice Diverted: How Renters are Processed in the Baltimore City Rent Court”

New Report: Public Justice Center, Justice Diverted: How Renters are Processed in the Baltimore City Rent Court (Dec. 2015).