Otzen publishes land contract brief, says they could pave way for community stability

June 15, 2021

In a recent brief, Karen Otzen, senior strategic projects manager at Poverty Solutions, and co-author Evelyn Zwiebach, state and local policy director for Enterprise Community Partners, explored the practice of land contracts. They broke down the brief with Detour Detroit.

"We... heard a different narrative from trusted members of community development sectors about how land contracts were not inherently predatory and that they were using them to enable homeownership," Otzen said. "We were interested in that story, especially because we found that their side was really underrepresented in the literature and news on this topic. So we decided to explore it further and gain a better understanding about what could be done in policy and programs to prevent predatory contacts and increase their support in Detroit."

In the brief, the authors concluded that land contracts could offer an affordable housing option.

"As we learned from mission-driven organizations working in Detroit and Southeast Michigan, land contracts implemented by good-faith sellers can offer a sustainable pathway to homeownership and represent an important alternative for buyers without access to mortgage financing," the brief reads. "By implementing the recommendations outlined above, we can better protect land contract buyers, prevent the use of exploitative land contracts by bad-faith sellers, and promote the use of supportive land contracts as a way to build housing and community stability in Detroit."

Read the complete brief and the breakdown with Detour Detroit below: