Darrius Woods

  • Hosted by Atlanta Legal Aid Society
  • Sponsored by Eversheds Sutherland, 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

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

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.

Fellowship Highlights

In the past two years, Darrius has:

  • Advised over 200 clients about home purchase scams, home sale scams, and foreclosure rescue scams
  • Provided direct representation to 40 clients
  • Participated in multi-Plaintiff federal litigation, which resulted in a tremendous settlement for contract for deed clients and created precedent related to contract for deeds transactions in Georgia
  • Created “Know Your Rights” materials in areas including foreclosure law, home purchase scams, home theft scams, equity theft, and loss mitigation for those struggling to pay their mortgage
  • Participated in more than 40 community outreach events, which reached approximately 400 people
  • Featured in a number of media interviews about contracts for deed and other predatory home purchase transactions

What’s Next

Following his Fellowship, Darrius will join Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation to work in their Standing with Our Neighbors program. Darrius will provide legal assistance to vulnerable families and manage a legal clinic out of a public school in Atlanta.

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