NewsBlack Landowners Subject To Predatory Developers

Black Landowners Subject To Predatory Developers

Over the years, Black landowners have fallen victim to property developers seeking to flip land.

As Black Americans inherit land, they are overwhelmed with pressure from developers to sell so that it may be repurposed.

Historically, Black Americans have been systematically threatened and harassed in an effort to force them to forfeit land ownership to developers. Others have been priced out of their homes, citing rising property taxes, according to AP News. This reality has led several Black people to lose their land, a significant source of generational wealth among families, NBC News reports. 

Though the Smiths have covered all legal avenues to ensure that the land remains within their family, their avid refusal has not deterred developers with hopes of transforming the occupied mass of land into a viable real estate investment or other plans. And, as it turns out, this is a similar tale for other Black landowners. 

According to NBC News, this is an all too common reality for many Black Americans who do not have access to resources to protect themselves against developers, partially due to informal ownership arrangements caused by a distrust of the government and legal systems. However, some programs are helping Black families preserve their property rights. The Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation is a South Carolina-based non-profit providing legal education and direct legal services for needy families. With guidance from assistant professor of agriculture, economics, and sociology at Auburn University in Alabama, Ryan Thomson, the Southern Rural Development Center also helps inheritors get their affairs to maintain legal ownership of their homes. 

Still, as many Black families struggle to navigate the legal expectations of proprietorship — unclear deeds and titles, inaccurate or poorly detailed family records, and no wills — development companies have continued their practices to ensnare vulnerable Black landowners.

RELATED CONTENT: A Black Alabama Family Claims Their Land and Well Were Stolen by City Officials

Source: Black Enterprise

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