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New Guidance Suggests Remedies for Tenant Screening Practices

May 17, 2024

A new HUD guidance explains that tenant screening companies and landlords that use them may potentially violate the Fair Housing Act’s anti-discrimination provisions, which could give rise to private remedies. As explained in this article, the guidance singles out problematic tenant screening practices involving credit history, criminal records, and eviction filings, and lists recommended landlord and screening company actions.

Three Important New Protections Preventing Home Foreclosures

May 14, 2024

This article summarizes three important VA and HUD policy updates helping homeowners avoid foreclosure. The VA’s new VA Servicing Purchase program will be the main way to modify VA loans. The FHA’s Payment Supplement program offers a new alternative to foreclosure for FHA loans. HUD Indian Housing Loans have an improved path to loan modifications—servicer non-compliance is a defense to foreclosure.

New Rule Gives Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Debtors Credit Toward Student Loan Forgiveness

April 17, 2024

Effective July 1, a new Department of Education rule provides new relief for how a student loan borrower’s income-driven repayment plan is treated if the borrower is in a chapter 13 bankruptcy. The article explains four key new protections that the new rule will implement and provides four essential practice tips for dealing with student loans in a chapter 13 bankruptcy.

75 Ways to Challenge an Arbitration Requirement

March 25, 2024

NCLC's new Arbitration Practice Checklist is a free tool that lists 75 ways to defeat an arbitration requirement. A new NCLC Digital Library article aggregates highlights from the new checklist. The article explains 12 lesser-known ways to defeat an arbitration requirement, 12 challenges that apply more often than expected, and the three biggest errors in challenging an arbitration requirement. Links are provided to this and ten other free practice checklists from NCLC.

Supreme Court: Federal Agencies Can be Sued Under Fair Credit Reporting Act

February 13, 2024

On February 8, the Supreme Court held that the FCRA waives federal sovereign immunity from FCRA damage claims when federal agencies furnish inaccurate information to consumer reporting agencies. This article examines the broader implications—other FCRA claims against federal agencies, FCRA claims against state and local agencies, and which other consumer statutes waive sovereign immunity.

Beloved Federal Practice Manual Now Free on NCLC Digital Library

February 2, 2024

An advance FREE version of the much-beloved federal practice manual geared for legal aid and public interest attorneys is now available on the NCLC Digital Library. NCLEJ with contributions from 29 federal court litigators has just updated and revised the Shriver Center’s classic version. This article explains the manual’s free access and describes its content and digital tools.

Two New CFPB Advisory Opinions Facilitate Private FCRA Litigation

January 24, 2024

Effective January 23, 2024, two new CFPB advisory opinions clarify a number of critical Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) issues and should facilitate private FCRA litigation. The first advisory opinion addresses accuracy issues in background check reports used by most employers and landlords. The second advisory opinion addresses problems consumers face when seeking complete disclosure of their credit reports.

New Consumer Law Rights Taking Effect in 2024

January 2, 2024

This article lists new federal consumer laws going into effect in 2024, including new student loan regulations, a new FTC rule on motor vehicles, a new FCC order on robocalls, and multiple changes concerning consumer bankruptcy. Also included are important state law changes in over 20 states, including California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Widespread FDCPA Violations in Collection of Medical Debt

December 5, 2023

A new CFPB report highlights the astonishing amount of debt collection seeking medical debt not owed or owed in a lesser amount. This article describes reasons medical debt amounts are often inaccurate (including non-compliance with new federal and state legislation), details why such collection violates several FDCPA provisions, and explains how to overcome the medical debt collector’s legal defenses.

A Must-Read for All Consumer Lawyers: NACA’s New Class Action Guidelines

October 19, 2023

This article explains the top four reasons why the new Fourth Edition of NACA’s Standards and Guidelines for Litigation and Settling Consumer Class Actions is a must-read not only for class action attorneys, but even for lawyers whose practice typically does involve class actions. The article lists the areas covered by the guidelines, changes in the Fourth Edition, and other key NCLC class action resources.

15 Blunders in Seeking an Attorney Fee Award

October 2, 2023

This article sets out 15 blunders to avoid when seeking a statutory attorney fee award. Time records must be “bullet-proof.” The article also explains 8 blunders in filling out time records. The remaining mistakes relate to hours that count for statutory fees, evidence supporting an hourly rate, and the presentation to the court justifying the fee award.

FCRA Remedies When Criminal Records Lead to Rental Denials

September 21, 2023

Too frequently landlords deny rental housing applications based upon tenant screening reports containing erroneous or obsolete criminal record histories. This article discusses widespread problems involving criminal record reporting that may give rise to powerful consumer remedies under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The article provides practical, step-by-step guidance for obtaining that relief.

Student Loan Borrower Rights After the Supreme Court Ruling

September 20, 2023

Forty-five million borrowers are scrambling to figure out options for managing their federal student loans before repayments resume this fall. This article sets out new student loan rights: fresh starts for those in default; the SAVE repayment plan; lower interest charges; avoidance of school arbitration provisions; and easier paths to public service loan forgiveness, bankruptcy discharges, and five types of statutory loan cancellations.

Arbitration Litigation Cheat Sheet

September 18, 2023

Much consumer litigation today must deal with arbitration requirements. This arbitration litigation cheat sheet provides a quick listing of consumer options when faced with an arbitration demand—including both options to challenge the enforceability of the arbitration requirement as well as how to proceed in arbitration if that is the only remaining or even preferred option.

5,000 Practice Aids Free on the NCLC Digital Library

August 31, 2023

The NCLC Digital Library contains a lot more than just subscription content. The Library makes free to the public over 5,000 practice aids plus, for members of the consumer law community, another 2,300 videos and speaker written submissions from past NCLC/NACA conferences. All this material can be downloaded and is fully searchable. This article provides ten tips to make the most from these free resources—how to locate and best utilize the practice aids.

Strict New Limits on Prerecorded Debt Collection Calls Effective July 20

July 20, 2023

New TCPA rules, effective July 20, place strict limits on the frequency of prerecorded debt collection calls to landlines. This article explains why the new rules increase protections beyond those of FDCPA Regulation F and offer victimized consumers greater statutory damages than the FDCPA, while statutory damages under both statutes do not face Article III standing concerns for unwanted calls.

Overcoming the Latest Supreme Court Arbitration Decision

July 17, 2023

The recent Supreme Court ruling in Coinbase creates another impediment to consumer litigation: even when a consumer defeats an arbitration requirement, if the company then pursues an interlocutory appeal of that ruling, discovery and other proceedings are automatically put on hold until that appeal is resolved. This article offers five approaches to avoid or ameliorate the effect of this new obstacle to consumer litigation handed down by the Supreme Court.

Protecting Federal Claims by Using State Courts

June 26, 2023

This article describes advantages and tactics in bringing federal consumer claims in state court, in response to Supreme Court decisions that narrow federal court standing requirements under Article III of the Constitution. Also detailed are a just-updated state-by-state analysis of state court standing rules, analysis why federal court standing requirements do not apply to federal claims in state courts, and a summary of advantages of litigating federal claims in state courts.

Supreme Court Stops Equity Theft in Property Tax Foreclosures

June 1, 2023

This article explains the broader and practical implications of a May 25 Supreme Court decision that a local government taking of a home at a property tax foreclosure violated the Fifth Amendment’s Taking Clause. Also analyzed are property tax foreclosure issues not resolved by the decision, as well as eleven practical tips to avoid loss of a home for unpaid property taxes, with links to additional resources.