Darrius Woods

  • Sponsored by Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP, The Home Depot
  • Service location Atlanta, Georgia
  • Law school Vanderbilt University Law School
  • Issue area Housing - Affordable Housing/Microfinance
  • Fellowship class year 2017
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Throughout the country, communities of color are being targeted for land contracts and other home purchase scams. Land contracts are a predatory form of seller financing wherein the buyer does not obtain title to the home until the final payment is made, and a default at any time can result in a loss of all equity and a swift eviction. Home purchase scams are becoming increasingly common in Atlanta due to several factors including a large inventory of cheap and poorly-maintained homes following the foreclosure crisis, a lack of state regulation, and a severe shortage of affordable housing. Darrius’ work will help prevent more wealth from leaving minority communities.

Darrius provides legal advocacy to low-income communities and communities of color that are disproportionately impacted by predatory home purchase scams to prevent abusive practices and build wealth.

Fellowship Highlights

In the first year, Darrius has:

  • Advised over 100 clients about home purchase scams and provided direct representation to 20 clients.
  • Built coalitions with other housing advocates and community groups.
  • Created Know Your Rights materials and started distributing them in low-income communities.
  • Assisted clients in challenging forfeiture terms in their contracts for deed transactions.
  • Participated in a number of media interviews to spread the word about contracts for deed and other predatory home purchase transactions.

What’s Next:

In the next year, Darrius plans to:

  • Partner with community-based groups to hold public workshops and promote policy changes related to home purchase and sale scams.
  • Author a report about land contracts in Atlanta and their impact on communities of color.
  • Advise 100 new clients and represent 20 more clients.
  • Research options and local initiatives addressing community-based nonprofit lending.
  • Continue education and outreach with pro bono volunteers.
  • Implement plans to promote project goals after the Fellowship ends.

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