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Homeowners in the Midwest are losing their houses to obscure laws

Kassidy Arena
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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