Justice for Joanna
Joanna was tricked into buying the mortgage on a vacant and blighted home in Kansas City’s urban core by an investor who had purchased the property upon a prior foreclosure. Joanna is low-income but she was promised the investor would rent out the home and repay the mortgage with the revenue made by renting the property. However, the investor never rented the home and failed to pay Joanna.
After threats of legal action, Joanna settled the matter by taking a deed in lieu of foreclosure. Unfortunately, she couldn’t find a suitable management company and was being cited by the City for property code violations. She was prepared to abandon the property and cut her losses when she decided to contact Legal Aid.
Joanna’s Legal Aid attorney repaired a title defect and arranged for a local nonprofit community development organization to purchase the home for $5,000. The nonprofit repaired the home and is now renting it to a low-income family, with the eventual goal of selling to the family.
The neighborhood association affected by this case has since identified three other vacant, blighted homes on the same block. Legal Aid is currently seeking remedies for those homes as well, which will result in more livable homes for low-income families in this neighborhood.