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Homeowners in the Midwest are losing their houses to obscure laws

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Kassidy Arena
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Iowa Public Radio
Larry Colton and Maria Kendall visit the former home of her mother Natalia Esteban (not pictured) in Marshalltown, Iowa, on Aug. 4, 2021. When the house title changed over to a stranger, all of Natalia’s family photos and trinkets from her life in Mexico were thrown out.

Quiet titles and contract for deed statutes are legal loopholes being employed to take the homes of non-English speaking and low-income families.

Imagine someone files a quiet title on your house, claiming ownership and you are never notified. Depending on where you live this could be perfectly legal.

Or you could enter into a contract for deed in which you are paying the seller for a house over time but the seller can yank the carpet out from under you, leaving you without a home. This practice targets people for whom a conventional mortgage may not be an option.

Kassidy Arena, a reporter for Iowa Public Radio and KCUR's Laura Ziegler explain how these practices are being deployed to deprive people of their homes.

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.
As senior producer of Up To Date, I want our listeners to hear familiar and new voices that shine light on the issues and challenges facing the myriad communities KCUR serves, and to expose our audiences to the wonderful and the creative in the Kansas City area. Just as important to me is an obligation to mentor the next generation of producers to ensure that the important conversations continue. Reach me at alexanderdk@kcur.org.
Reginald David is an assistant producer with Up To Date. You can reach him at reginalddavid@kcur.org.