In the wake of the housing crash of 2008, Black communities have been targeted by predatory “land contract” schemes that promise the dream of home ownership but are structured to fail.  One company, Vision Property Management, engaged in predatory lending schemes across the United States by tricking consumers into signing rent-to-own contracts carrying the promise of homeownership but none of the rights.  Vision purchased over 1,000 dilapidated properties in Michigan and sold them to unsuspecting homebuyers.  Vision’s contracts obscured the true cost of buying and repairing the home, the interest rate, and the term of the loan; made it nearly impossible for buyers to achieve homeownership; and allowed Vision to avoid responsibility for upkeep.  Vision also marketed its product primarily to low-income Black consumers. 

In September 2020 the ACLU of Michigan, NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF), National Consumer Law Center (NCLC), and Michigan Poverty Law Program (MPLP) filed a federal class action lawsuit against Vision and its main funder Atalaya on behalf of lower-income and Black Michigan consumers who were the primary targets of Vision’s predatory home purchase scheme.  The lawsuit sets forth claims under the Federal Fair Housing Act, Truth in Lending Act, Equal Credit Opportunity Act, and various state laws.  In August 2021 Judge Sean Cox denied Atalaya’s motion to dismiss, allowing the case to proceed. 

(Henderson v. Vision Property Management; ACLU Attorneys Bonsitu Kitaba-Gaviglio and Dan Korobkin; co-counsel Coty Montag and Jennifer Holmes of LDF; Stuart Rossman and Sarah Mancini of NCLC; and Lorray Brown of MPLP.)