At the core of the Consumer & Housing Project’s work are some of the foundational issues of the Justice Center, dating back to the creation of the North Carolina Legal Resource Center in 1982. The team focuses on unfair and deceptive practices targeting North Carolina consumers, fair landlord/tenant laws, affordable housing, and lending abuses.
Center staff have successfully advocated for landmark laws protecting against predatory lending, mortgage servicing abuses, and debt buyer abuses. They have engaged in successful class action litigation against unscrupulous mortgage brokers and payday lenders, and have coordinated statewide foreclosure defense work. Some of these hard fought victories were accomplished through the Center’s effective relationships with policymakers, allied attorneys, and organizations from across the state working in coalition.
Over the years, the project’s attorneys and lobbyists have advanced work on numerous legislative issues including:
- Stopping predatory lending practices and defeating legislation that would let lenders raise interests on consumer loans.
- Improving protections of tenants in the state landlord/tenant law, including protections for victims of domestic violence and increased rights for tenants in foreclosed properties
- Improving North Carolina’s Fair Housing Act by making it a fair housing violation for local governments to refuse to allow housing development because it is “affordable.”
- Obtaining increased funding for NC’s Housing Trust Fund and establishing a state housing tax credit to provide deeper subsidies for housing developed for North Carolina’s poorest residents.
- Protecting manufactured home buyers from abusive lending and sales tactics.
- Protecting consumers from unfair collection practices.
The Consumer & Housing Project continues to work through litigation and other non-legislative efforts on behalf of consumers, tenants, homeowners, and families with low incomes by:
- Co-leading the Fair Housing Project with Legal Aid of NC, which fights housing discrimination, creates safe and affordable housing, and enforces protections and rights for tenants.
- Working to reduce the loss of homes to foreclosures based on predatory mortgage servicing practices, foreclosure rescue scams, and HOA abuses, and helping lead statewide foreclosure defense work.
- Representing students who have fallen prey to predatory practices of for-profit schools through the Predatory For-Profit Schools Project, which educates students and the general public on this abusive practice.
- Keeping payday and car-title lending out of our state by working with allies to fight efforts to lower regulations and increase fees for companies seeking to make predatory loans.
- Creating affordable access to utilities and transportation, including increasing public transit options, ensuring transit and housing plans to serve all families, and striving to make sure utilities are accessible and affordable even in remote or impoverished areas.
- Working with partners to promote a Clean Power Plan (CPP) for NC that complies with carbon reduction goals required by the EPA and takes advantage of incorporating energy efficiency to benefit North Carolina households struggling to pay high-energy bills.
- Working with partners to increase opportunities for community-supported housing for individuals with severe mental illness.