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Full-Text Articles in Law

A Theoretical Justification For Treating The Contract For Deed As A Mortgage, Matthew J. Blaney May 2023

A Theoretical Justification For Treating The Contract For Deed As A Mortgage, Matthew J. Blaney

Texas A&M Journal of Property Law

Millions of Americans finance their home using the treacherous contract for deed. Denied access to the conventional mortgage, the contract for deed often is the only alternative for Americans seeking the stability of homeownership. Historically, however, this deceptive financing device disrupted the lives of thousands of individuals by forfeiting their property and all payments made on the contract—even where only one installment was overdue. Low-income Americans and immigrant families disproportionately experience the brunt of the contract for deed. Furthermore, as Americans experience rising prices and increasing financial instability, there is reason to fear sellers—equipped with insight into lenders’ former mistakes—could …


Compulsory Terms In Property, Timothy M. Mulvaney Aug 2022

Compulsory Terms In Property, Timothy M. Mulvaney

Faculty Scholarship

The state’s imposition of compulsory terms in property relations—such as habitability warranties binding landlords and tenants and minimum wages binding employers and employees—has long been conceived by analysts generally situated on the political right as an affront to individual freedom and inevitably harmful to the terms’ intended beneficiaries. This critique, though, seems to have special purchase in public discourse today not only within its traditional circle of supporters on the right but, at least in some instances, for a sizable number on the left as well. The bipartisan acceptance of this critique is serving as a substantial roadblock to a …


Tiny Homes: A Big Solution To American Housing Insecurity, Lisa T. Alexander Mar 2022

Tiny Homes: A Big Solution To American Housing Insecurity, Lisa T. Alexander

Faculty Scholarship

“There’s no place like home,” said Dorothy. Yet, millions of people in the United States may face eviction, foreclosure, or homelessness in 2021 and beyond. America is on the brink of an unprecedented housing crisis in the wake of Covid-19. The federal government, and various states and localities, have taken actions to avert a housing crisis in the aftermath of Covid 19. While these actions have undeniably helped mitigate widespread foreclosure and eviction crises, they do not fully address the more fundamental American housing challenge—an inadequate supply of affordable housing at all income levels, a longstanding problem that Covid-19 has …


Tempering Glass Armor: A Demand For Improved Anti-Discrimination Housing Laws To Protect Homeless Transgender People, Jack Beasley Jun 2021

Tempering Glass Armor: A Demand For Improved Anti-Discrimination Housing Laws To Protect Homeless Transgender People, Jack Beasley

Student Scholarship

Homelessness is a nationwide problem that affects hundreds of thousands of people a year. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals face unique, additional issues in their day-to-day lives that heterosexual and cisgender individuals do not. Homeless shelters across the country are full of transgender youth and adults who are subject to more sexual violence, criminal acts, and discrimination than other homeless individuals in the same shelters. The Obama administration’s rule protecting homeless transgender people in shelters is in danger. In essence, Housing Secretary Ben Carson’s proposed rule would put homeless transgender people at a higher risk of discrimination. Agency …


Not My Problem? Landlord Liability For Tenant-On-Tenant Harassment, Aric Short Apr 2021

Not My Problem? Landlord Liability For Tenant-On-Tenant Harassment, Aric Short

Faculty Scholarship

Tenant-on-tenant harassment because of a victim’s race, gender, or other protected status, is a severe and increasingly widespread problem often targeting vulnerable tenants. The creation of a hostile housing environment violates the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA), and victims may recover from their abusers, whether they are landlords or fellow tenants. But plaintiffs in two recent FHA lawsuits sought recovery from their landlords for something different: their landlords’ failure to intervene in and stop harassment committed by other tenants. These suits raise novel and important questions about the scope of the FHA, but the two courts disagreed about how the …


Community In Property: Lessons From Tiny Homes Villages, Lisa T. Alexander Nov 2019

Community In Property: Lessons From Tiny Homes Villages, Lisa T. Alexander

Faculty Scholarship

The evolving role of community in property law remains undertheorized. While legal scholars have analyzed the commons, common interest communities, and aspects of the sharing economy, the recent rise of intentional co-housing communities re-mains relatively understudied. This Article analyzes tiny homes villages for unhoused people in the United States, as examples of co-housing communities that create a new housing tenure—stewardship—and demonstrate the growing importance of community, co-management, sustainability, and flexibility in con-temporary property law. These villages’ property relationships challenge the predominance of individualized, exclusionary, long-term, fee simple ownership in contemporary property law and exemplify property theories such as progressive property …


Things Invisible To See: State Action & Private Property, Joseph William Singer, Isaac Saidel-Goley Jun 2018

Things Invisible To See: State Action & Private Property, Joseph William Singer, Isaac Saidel-Goley

Texas A&M Law Review

This Article revisits the state action doctrine, a judicial invention that shields “private” or “non-governmental” discrimination from constitutional scrutiny. Traditionally, this doctrine has applied to discrimination even in places of public accommodation, like restaurants, hotels, and grocery stores. Born of overt racial discrimination, the doctrine has inflicted substantial injustice throughout its inglorious history, and courts have continuously struggled in vain to coherently apply the doctrine. Yet, the United States Supreme Court has not fully insulated “private” or “horizontal” relations among persons from constitutional scrutiny. The cases in which it has applied constitutional norms to non-governmental actors should be celebrated rather …


Smart Growth Through Tiny Homes: Incentivizing Freedom Of Housing, A. Robin Donnelly Jan 2018

Smart Growth Through Tiny Homes: Incentivizing Freedom Of Housing, A. Robin Donnelly

Texas A&M Journal of Property Law

Tiny Homes are an environmentally friendly housing option popping up across the United States. Tiny Homes have a minimal environmental footprint due to their small size and eco-friendly design. As such, Tiny Homes could address several of the Environmental Protection Agency’s city development goals. The Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) has created a Smart Growth program that provides financial assistance to cities seeking to implement greener practices throughout city planning. Tiny Home Eco communities could become a popular Smart Growth development plan. Unfortunately, cities have not welcomed Tiny Homes, and this alternative green housing scheme has remained undeveloped. This Comment is …


Non-Enforcement Takings, Timothy M. Mulvaney Jan 2018

Non-Enforcement Takings, Timothy M. Mulvaney

Faculty Scholarship

The non-enforcement of existing property laws is not logically separable from the issue of unfair and unjust state deprivations of property rights at which the Constitution's Takings Clause takes aim. This Article suggests, therefore, that takings law should police allocations resulting from non-enforcement decisions on the same "fairness and justice" grounds that it polices allocations resulting from decisions to enact and enforce new regulations. Rejecting the extant majority position that state decisions not to enforce existing property laws are categorically immune from takings liability is not to advocate that persons impacted by such decisions should be automatically or even regularly …


Evicted: The Socio-Legal Case For The Right To Housing, Lisa T. Alexander Apr 2017

Evicted: The Socio-Legal Case For The Right To Housing, Lisa T. Alexander

Faculty Scholarship

Matthew Desmond's Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City is a triumphant work that provides the missing socio-legal data needed to prove why America should recognize housing as a human right. Desmond's masterful study of the effect of evictions on Milwaukee's urban poor in the wake of the 2008 U.S. housing crisis humanizes the evicted, and their landlords, through rich and detailed ethnographies. His intimate portrayals teach Evicted's readers about the agonizingly difficult choices that low-income, unsubsidized tenants must make in the private rental market. Evicted also reveals the contradictions between "law on the books" and "law-in-action." Its most …


Bringing Home The Right To Housing To Advance Urban Sustainability, Lisa Alexander Jan 2017

Bringing Home The Right To Housing To Advance Urban Sustainability, Lisa Alexander

Texas A&M Journal of Property Law

The title of my talk today is Bringing Home the Right to Housing to Advance Urban Sustainability. You may ask what is the right to housing? Why do we need to bring it home? And what does it have to do with the broader topic of today’s symposium, urban sustainability?

The human right to housing, although not a formal American federal or constitutional right, provides an important legal and normative framework that can help American cities and states better balance the needs of owners and non-owners in local housing and development struggles. If American cities and states want to create …


Location, Location, Mis-Location: How Local Land Use Restrictions Are Dulling Halfway Housing's Criminal Rehabilitation Potentia, Michael J. Mcgowan Mar 2016

Location, Location, Mis-Location: How Local Land Use Restrictions Are Dulling Halfway Housing's Criminal Rehabilitation Potentia, Michael J. Mcgowan

Student Scholarship

Part I of this Article begins with a brief historical explanation of halfway houses as a model of criminal rehabilitation. Part II addresses why recidivism rates provide the most appropriate metric gauging halfway houses' success and how they apparently have failed to improve recidivism rates. Part III then delves into the body of scholarship that explains how an individual's likelihood of landing back behind bars is to some extent demonstrably tied to their location, meaning their surrounding cultural, economic, and criminogenic environment. Part IV discusses the sparse data on the sorts of neighborhoods where halfway houses ultimately end up and …


Occupying The Constitutional Right To Housing, Lisa T. Alexander Oct 2015

Occupying The Constitutional Right To Housing, Lisa T. Alexander

Faculty Scholarship

The United States does not recognize a formal legal right to housing. Yet, the right to housing is alive in America. Using qualitative interviews and case studies, this Article is the first to argue that recent American housing rights movements, such as the Occupy Movements, Take Back the Land movements, and Home Defenders’ League, give legal meaning to an American constitutional right to housing. These social movements represent the right to housing in American law when they occupy and retain vacant and real estate–owned homes, defend home owners and renters from illegal evictions and foreclosures, encourage municipalities to use eminent …


Hip-Hop And Housing: Revisiting Culture, Urban Space, Power, And Law, Lisa T. Alexander Oct 2011

Hip-Hop And Housing: Revisiting Culture, Urban Space, Power, And Law, Lisa T. Alexander

Faculty Scholarship

U.S. housing law is finally receiving its due attention. Scholars and practitioners are focused primarily on the subprime mortgage and foreclosure crises. Yet the current recession has also resurrected the debate about the efficacy of place-based lawmaking. Place-based laws direct economic resources to low-income neighborhoods to help existing residents remain in place and to improve those areas. Law-and-economists and staunch integrationists attack place-based lawmaking on economic and social grounds. This Article examines the efficacy of place-based lawmaking through the underutilized prism of culture. Using a sociolegal approach, it develops a theory of cultural collective efficacy as a justification for place-based …