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Private Report or Study

This 2024 NCLC report written by  Nketiah “Ink” Berko and Sarah Bolling Mancini, highlights and evaluates the efficacy of various laws and policies aimed at helping owners of heirs property. The report divides those legal interventions into three sections: laws aimed at preventing immediate land loss; laws aimed at resolving heirs property and clarifying ownership status; and laws aimed at preventing heirs property from occurring in the future. 

As homeowners struggle to recover from the pandemic and deal with soaring inflation, some risk losing their homes to a strict and often rapid tax lien foreclosure process. As many as 8.5 million homeowners could become delinquent on their property taxes in 2023. The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled in Tyler v. Hennepin County that it is unconstitutional for a local government to take a home in a property tax foreclosure and keep the homeowner’s equity after the tax debt and costs are paid.

Since 1999, Ronald Burdge, a Dayton Ohio consumer attorney,  has been producing and publishing the free U.S. Consumer Law Attorney Fee Survey Report, the only national survey of consumer law practitioners in the United States. Its methodologies have been independently peer reviewed and supported by the National Association of Legal Fee Analysis.

Landlords use tenant screening reports to evaluate rental applications. This September 2023 NCLC report is based on an analysis of 253 responses from attorneys and tenant advocates about tenant screening problems. The report examines the survey results, provides an in-depth analysis of tenant screening problems identified by the survey, and makes recommendations for change. The report responds to an FTC and CFPB call for information on tenant screening.

Discriminatory tax assessment and appeal practices, especially during the Jim Crow era, contributed to the persistent homeownership gap. Black-owned properties were routinely and intentionally over assessed, resulting in the loss of those properties for owners who could not afford the taxes. The disparities persist today. Black and Latino/a residents face an unequal property assessment and appeals process that results in higher tax burdens, and a greater risk of tax foreclosure.

This report discusses the process used to place a lien on a home when a homeowner falls behind on property taxes and eventually foreclose on that property if the homeowner cannot pay the amounts in a certain period of time. It then discusses the unique issues heirs face when the record title owner passes away and leaves an overdue property tax bill. The report also reviews five sample states–Florida, Mississippi, Michigan, Texas, and Pennsylvania–and the policies they have, or do not have, to assist heirs with property tax bills, focusing on homestead exemptions.

The LIBOR is a benchmark index, also known as a reference rate, that is commonly used in millions of adjustable rate mortgages, home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), and student loans. Although it is still widely used, the index will no longer be available in its current form after June 30, 2023 and will cease to exist entirely on September 30, 2024. That means creditors and servicers will need to find and implement a replacement index for every contract still using the LIBOR at that time. This change should not require consumers to take any action.


Mortgage servicers are the companies that accept loan payments from borrowers. Servicers are distinct from the lender, the entity that originated the loan, or the current holder or investors, who stand to lose money if the loan fails. Some servicers are affiliated with the originating lender or current loan holder; many are not. Yet, while servicers normally have the power to modify loans, they simply are not making enough loan modifications. Why? One answer is that the structure of servicer compensation generally biases servicers against making widespread loan modifications.